Parkinson: Villa triumph the best yet
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson felt his side's Capital One Cup 3-1 win over Aston Villa was better than beating Arsenal.
Parkinson's men are 90 minutes away from becoming the first fourth-division side to reach the League Cup final for 51 years after their semi-final first-leg victory against the five-time winners.
Bradford, who are eighth in League Two, had already eliminated two Premier League sides in Wigan and Arsenal, both on penalties, before beating Villa.
And Parkinson felt this was a superior achievement, saying: "I think so. Against Arsenal it was a great night for us but it was an all-round performance tonight.
"Villa played a really attacking team and we had to defend really well. Equally, they left a lot of space on the pitch for us to play and it was important our quality players played with calmness on the ball and they certainly did that."
Nahki Wells, Rory McArdle and Carl McHugh scored the goals for Bradford and Parkinson admitted they had exceeded his expectations.
"I was asked before the game if I would take a draw and I said: 'yeah'," he added. "But we set out to win the game and to go there with a two-goal lead was great. These are the nights when you are a youngster and you dream of being a footballer that you want to be a part of."
Parkinson hailed veteran goalkeeper Matt Duke, who produced a string of saves in a man-of-the-match performance.
"His calmness was so important," the manager said. "It spreads through the team. His performance was great."
Now the Bradford boss, formerly in charge of Colchester, Hull and Charlton, is optimistic his success will bring him a new contract.
"Hopefully that will happen sooner or later," he added. "We want to tie up our good players on longer term deals. We want to sign some more players as well and the sooner my future is sorted out the quicker we will be able to do it."
Villa manager Paul Lambert, whose team have conceded 21 goals in their last six games, criticised his side for their defending.
"It's really disappointing," he said. "At any level of football, you cannot defend corners like that. We never defended the way we should have."
He urged his team to be more clinical and pledged that Villa will do better in January 22's second leg.
"It will be a different game at Villa Park," he said. "We had a lot of chances to score and we never took them and it is only half time. Whatever happened here, it is two legs. We know what we have to go and do."