Carlisle United No2 Gavin Skelton admitted some of the Blues’ bright attacking play was offset by conceding some poor goals in their EFL Trophy defeat to Sunderland.

The Blues scored three against their League One hosts but also shipped five as they went out of the competition.

Skelton said United must weigh the positives against the lesser aspects of their display at the Stadium of Light.

Chris Beech’s assistant said: “It was frustrating because we’ve come to the Stadium of Light and we’ve scored three goals, but we’ve still got beat.

“That’s really disappointing because you want to win every game and you want to get the lads used to the winning feeling.

“We can take some really good positive things from it, particularly in terms of scoring three really good goals, and we’ve had lads out there getting important game time.

“Some people performed really well, but we have to hold our hands up and say we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding five.

“I know you always look with blinkers on that any goal is a bad goal to lose, but there were some really bad goals to lose in this lot. That’s why it’s so disappointing to have scored three and still get beat.”

Skelton said United started brightly and praised Danny Devine’s “brilliant” contribution which led to Ethan Walker winning an early penalty.

The coach also said the line-leading performance of Lewis Alessandra, who scored that spot-kick, was a “huge plus point”.

Alessandra will be all the more important to United now after a string of injuries to other attacking players, along with Joshua Kayode's absence on international duty.

United, though, trailed 2-1 at the break after a deflected Chris Maguire free-kick and a Denver Hume strike.

Maguire added another and Charlie Wyke made it 4-1 to Sunderland before sub Jon Mellish’s double gave Carlisle hope which was finally extinguished by Jack Diamond late on.

United’s side featured seven changes and Sunderland’s eight.

Skelton said: “It can be difficult for the players when a lot of changes are made. That was done for a number of reasons, with injuries and things, and with the fact some players needed game time.

“They deserved that chance because they’ll feel it’s unfortunate not to be getting more opportunities, and for a new team that only really worked together [on Monday] they played some really good stuff.

“If you’re looking for reasons, maybe that’s why we shipped a couple of really disappointing goals because there are new combinations in there who haven’t played together and who haven’t trained as a unit that much.

“The average age of the starting team was 21, and that’s not doing Lewi Alessandra down at all. There were a number of English league debuts or starts, and they’ll all be pleased about getting that at the same time as being disappointed with the end result.

“It all bodes well for us in the busy period ahead.”