Mark Hughes admitted his Bantams were not at their usual level and needed to “cut out sloppiness”, after they lost on penalties to Leicester City Under-21s in the Papa Johns Trophy.
City could have secured their place in the next round at the University of Bradford Stadium, though were taken to penalties where the young Foxes claimed the extra point.
The Welshman believed his men could and should have stopped the young side from scoring, and seen the game out at 2-0 up.
He said: “I am disappointed, especially with the number of chances we had at 2-0.
“We should have won the game. We needed to cut out our sloppiness, in terms of going out to press.
“We allowed two shots to go in that could have been prevented. The group stage could have been put to bed early, so of course we are disappointed.
“We should have managed the game better when we were leading, and the past few games have shown we can do that.
“They caught us out on a number of occasions and scored from it. This is a game we can look back on and think that we should have won it comfortably, but we have another opportunity.”
The Bantams boss made several changes to his side, in a new formation which saw the likes of Vadaine Oliver, Lee Angol and Jake Young start.
Hughes felt the game was an important opportunity to give players the chance to get match minutes under their belt.
“Changing the shape up a little bit and switching the personnel is always good to do, and tonight was a good opportunity,” he added.
“The formation is maybe something we can use in the future, so tonight was worth looking at new ideas.
“We look forward to Burton in a few weeks where we can progress from the group. This game was not quite what we wanted, but we can look at the performance and improve.”
Hughes' men return to action in Sky Bet League Two at home to Stockport County on Saturday. CLICK HERE to secure your place.