Mick - "we got what we deserved"
Mick McCarthy heaped praise on his team tonight after they dumped Premiership side Birmingham City out of the FA Cup against bookies' predictions.
Speaking to Metro FM's Bill Mantle, McCarthy said "Birmingham are a good solid Premier League outfit and it happens – we’ve upset the applecart.
"Even Steve Bruce admitted we should’ve won it in 90 minutes, and I thought we were the better side."
Asked if he thought Sunderland had got the result they deserved, McCarthy said "We did - it was a well earned and deserved victory over both games. I think the lads have shown to everybody that they’ve got plenty of character.
"The work ethic IS there, it wasn’t missing on Saturday (at Cardiff City), sometimes we play badly. We’ve all of us been thrown together and we’re all prepared to graft and work – so I’m delighted for those guys, it’s brilliant."
Speaking about his decision to substitute Marcus Stewart with Tommy Smith, who scored both goals, the gaffer revealed, "When I took Stewie off he was having a whinge, said he was full of running – but he perhaps should have scored with a chance he had – the header just before I took him off. After the game he came and patted me on the back, said “great substitution gaffer!”
"Stewie’s done well but it’s one of those things – I’ll keep mixing and matching my centre forwards and see if we can get a formula that wins us games.
Jason McAteer missed tonight's match with an ear infection and hamstring problem, and was replaced by Paul Thirlwell. McCarthy said "I know all about how good Paul Thirlwell is, and Jeff Whitley was back on form today – I thought he was brilliant, and I’d had a whinge at him on Saturday! I don’t know what he’s done but if that’s him putting two fingers up at me then that’s great, I thought he was brilliant!"
Sunderland come back down to earth with a bump now and must face promotion rivals Norwich in a televised match at the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime, and McCarthy is anxious to make sure his players are in the best shape possible for this crucial game.
"We’ve got a big game on Saturday and this has taken a lot out of us.
"We’re staying down here and we’ll be in the pool tomorrow trying to recover some of the energy we’ve used tonight."