Exeter 'let Sunderland off the hook' in League Cup - Paul Tisdale
Exeter City let Sunderland "off the hook" in their League Cup second round defeat, says manager Paul Tisdale.
The League Two side came back from a goal down three times in the first half before losing 6-3 to the Premier League club at the Stadium of Light.
"We ran out of legs, but I feel disappointed that we let them off the hook," Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon.
"We leave happy with our overall contribution but a bit disappointed that it's finished 6-3."
Sunderland made just two changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Swansea, while City made five changes from their 0-0 draw against York.
"I looked at the team sheets before the game and I'm thinking this could be a one-sided affair," said Tisdale.
"At half-time my optimism grew significantly at 3-3 and I think we did ourselves proud in the first half.
"We played our football, but were outdone by some Jermain Defoe play, which really contributed to their three goals.
"We feel a bit empty that we conceded the fourth goal from a corner and then the fifth goal was a shambles and game over," added the Exeter boss, who is the second-longest serving manager in English football's top four divisions.
"Even at 4-3 down we fancied our chances to get back into it. Why wouldn't we? We'd done it three times in the first half.
"And that's amazing really, when it's a Premier League team playing a pretty strong team and we leave disappointed."