Parkinson calls on his players to stay strong for return

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Phil Parkinson hailed an unforgettable night at Valley Parade as an “outstanding achievement” for Bradford City.

The Bantams recorded one of the most famous results in their 110-year history with a 3-1 win over Premier League Aston Villa, to move to within 90 minutes of a major Wembley final.

The League Two club defied the odds with a fearless performance to take a two-goal advantage into the second leg at Villa Park on January 22.

Parkinson, whose side have already accounted for Wigan and Arsenal in the earlier rounds, said: “To score three goals against a Premier League team is an outstanding achievement.

“All round the lads were magnificent. They can really enjoy the night.

“But let’s not get carried away, we have to be respectful to Villa.

“We have still got to go to Villa Park and do it all again.

“We have got to go there and be strong in all departments, as I told the players to be.

“If we can do that then we’ll have a chance.

“We’ve got to make sure that if Aston Villa get to Wembley then they will really have to earn it.”

Prior to the game, Parkinson had said he would like City to still be in the tie going into the second leg, such was the enormity of the task facing his team.

After surprising even himself with the manner of their victory, he said: “We go into every game trying to win it, but I said that because a draw would have been a good result.

“But we can enjoy this. When we got the ball we passed it really well. They had their chances but we had ours.

“(Last night) the goals have gone in for us and what’s encouraging is that even against Premier League teams we can create chances.

“This is a dream to be in the semi-finals with Aston Villa, Chelsea and Swansea.”

Matt Duke, Bradford’s heroic goalkeeper who repelled almost everything Villa could throw at him, said: “When you’re playing against a top team you have to be on your game and to be honest, I couldn’t have done it without the help of the lads in front of me.

“It is a cliche, but it’s only half-time. We’ve got an even bigger task now going to Villa Park.”

Villa manager Paul Lambert summed up the complacency which his vaunted side showed in West Yorkshire when he said: “We are in a game now, that’s for sure.”