MICHAEL KIGHTLY is confident that Stoke City will bounce back from their Capital One Cup shock at Wigan this weekend . . . even though he admits the players will feel the effects of that exit at the hands of Swindon Town over the next few days.
Kightly and his team-mates bowed out of the competition in dramatic fashion as James Collins ensured that their determined fightback was all in vain with the winner in the final minute of extra-time at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday evening.
It was a cruel blow for the Potters after they had clawed their way back into the tie on two occasions and been forced to battle with ten men in the second half of extra-time little more than 48 hours after a big Premier League game against Arsenal.
But Kightly refused to make any excuses for the defeat after the seven-goal thriller, saying: “No disrespect to Swindon, but we should be beating teams like that, there is no doubt about it, especially here at the Britannia Stadium.
“We were sloppy tonight and gave them two or three goals which we really should have dealt with better. It’s how it goes sometimes though; unfortunately we were poor tonight and we have paid for that performance by suffering this result.”
The summer-signing added: “We have to bounce back from it though and I know we can do that. We carved out a lot of chances this evening, scored three goals and came back from behind on two occasions, so we have to stay positive.”
Kightly felt the loss of Scottish Under 21 international Jamie Ness to injury in extra-time was detrimental to the side’s chances of completing a superb comeback, lamenting his groin strain as a key factor in the outcome of the clash.
“I think it killed us in all honesty,” he said. We had done well to pull ourselves back in to the game and we looked the stronger team as the game wore on. In fact, with eleven men I think there was only ever going to be one winner.
“For him to get that injury though, at the time that he did, left us with a real mountain to climb and, unfortunately, it proved to be just a little too high for us to overcome.”