Exeter 'let Sunderland off the hook' in League Cup - Paul Tisdale

Paul Tisdale
Paul Tisdale had never faced Sunderland during his 10 seasons as Exeter City manager

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.

Manny Oyeleke and David Wheeler
Manny Oyeleke and David Wheeler celebrate Exeter's second equaliser at Sunderland

"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."