Phil Parkinson confidently predicted his team could complete the job and make Aston Villa their third Premier League giantkilling act of this Capital One Cup run as he reflected on Bradford City's remarkable journey to the verge of a Wembley final.
"It's important not to get carried away and to respect Villa," the Bradford manager said. "We've got to go to Villa Park in a fortnight and do it all again. But I'm absolutely delighted with the way we played. We know we are only halfway there and we have a tremendously difficult job in a fortnight's time. But we're two goals ahead and it's great. It's game on. If Villa are going to get to Wembley they are going to have to play exceptionally well."
No fourth-division side has eliminated three top-tier teams in this competition but Parkinson said his players were always confident on the back of defeating Arsenal and Wigan Athletic.
"I was asked if I'd take a draw before the game and I said yes but we didn't set out for a draw. We set out to win the game. A draw wouldn't have been the worst scenario but to go back to Villa two goals ahead is great. I asked the lads beforehand that if Villa were going to get to Wembley we had to make sure they earned it.
"These are the nights when you're a young lad you dream about being a part of. I told them: 'Now we are here, let's really enjoy it.' The lads did that tonight."
Paul Lambert, Villa's manager, blamed his team's defending but insisted that they should still be considered favourites to reach the final. "It was really disappointing because at any level you cannot defend like that," he said. "They've not had a lot of the ball and their goalkeeper has made some really good saves but you can't defend set plays like that.
He added: "We are still in the tie, absolutely. I'm pretty sure we will be [favourites], being at home with the crowd behind us. It's a big game for us now.
"But it will be a different game at Villa Park. It's only half-time and it will be a totally different game.
"If the chances come our way we'll have to be clinical and take them. But even if you're not taking your chances you've still got to defend corners better than that. We never defended set pieces the way we should have done. That is what hurt us. They are a vital part of the game and that wasn't good enough."
Parkinson also believes that Bradford, 60 league places below Villa in the pecking order of English football, should be regarded as the underdogs.
"I still think Villa will be the favourites in two weeks but we go there full of confidence and the pressure will be on them," he said.
His goalkeeper, Matt Duke, made the same point. "We had to be on top of our games to win this game because Villa are a class team. But we've got an even bigger task ahead of us now."
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