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5 August 2023

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Mark Hughes admitted his side's 1-0 defeat to Crawley Town on the opening day of the 2023/24 Sky Bet League Two season was “hard to take”.

The Bantams boss assessed how Daniel Oyegoke’s sending off after the half-hour mark “affected the gameplan”, but insisted his side will recognise the areas in which City went wrong today.

“It has been a hard day to take really,” he said.

“I thought we started brightly and had good width to our play.

“The sending off affected our game and how we pressured Crawley - it got easier for them to control the game.

“Our gameplan had to go out of the window and the main aim was to stay in the game. 

“We had a go for it, and the changes helped.

“Ultimately, we are disappointed with the outcome of the game. 

“We made a mistake and it affected our game plan. There are areas and details of our game that need to be improved.

“We are a pretty honest group and we recognise the areas we went wrong today.”

The Welshman was pleased with the adaptability of his Bantams and how they “kept going” despite going a man down, praising his Bantams’ bravery and perseverance.

He also looked ahead to Tuesday’s Carabao Cup Round One clash against Accrington Stanley and reaffirmed “the mentality will not change” and the expectation remains to improve and progress into the next round.

“They kept going until the end, and I was pleased with that,” Hughes added.

“It was not easy, especially with how Crawley sat back at times.

“We knew that from observing their pre-season games that they will draw you in and will force you to make mistakes.

“We had to be brave and a lot higher than we initially set out too, and we were better in the second half, as a consequence.

“The mentality and my expectations for the players will not change when we play Accrington.

“It is not pre-season anymore - these games we have coming up now, are games of importance. 

“We will not go there with the view of giving minutes to players for the sake of it - the aim is to go there and win.

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