FA Cup Final reaction

Lampard: Cup is perfect parting gift

May 30, 2009

Guus Hiddink emerged from a farewell post-match break-dancing party in the Wembley dressing room with his players and owner Roman Abramovich to admit he was "sad but satisfied'' after Chelsea had beaten Everton 2-1 in the 128th FA Cup final.

Guus Hiddink
GettyImages / MikeHewittHiddink wins the FA Cup with Chelsea

It was Hiddink's final match after three and a half months in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Now he will return to coach Russia after visiting his ageing father tomorrow and telling him how he won the FA Cup.

Hiddink said: "There were some extra-normal circumstances in the dressing room. We have a multi-cultural squad and we had a nice dance party with the staff.

"Roman danced with us. He enjoyed it. He was in the middle of the party. He is not a man of many words but there were some beautiful pictures.

"It was emotional in the dressing room. I got my players together and thanked them in an emotional way for how we have worked together.''

Hiddink revealed that Michael Essien led the African dancing after goals from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard had delivered Chelsea's fifth FA Cup.

Everton striker Louis Saha had given the match a stunning start when he thundered home a left-foot shot after just 25 seconds to record the fastest goal in FA Cup final history - so fast that Hiddink admitted he did not even see it because TV and security staff were still blocking his view as they took their positions.

"We were very tough and the team has showed after a setback they react always, which is what I like,'' he added.

However he admitted there was also a feeling of frustration at missing out on the Champions League final.

He said: "It would have been more perfect if we had been somewhere else a few days ago. I would have loved to have played Man U. It was almost a perfect goodbye. Not winning today would have left unfinished business.''

Hiddink also insisted that whoever replaces him - Carlo Ancelotti of AC Milan is the favourite - must bring continuity.

"The club has had too many changes in past years and stability is the key for this club. They need a longer strategy to build a team with high performance and high demands.''

He reserved particular praise for Lampard, who turned up as he so often does to win the game with his 20th goal of the season.

"It was a typical, beautiful Frank Lampard goal,'' said Hiddink. "When the team needs a turning point he is there in key moments. That is the benchmark for a world class player.''

He also explained why winning the the FA Cup meant so much.

"When I was a young manager there was one Saturday in May when I had to find a telly to watch the FA Cup. This FA Cup is regarded as one of biggest cups and that is why it means a lot to me.''

Hiddink was, though, upset at leaving Chelsea:

"I feel sadness because the attitude of the players was superb, but leaving with silverware gives a feeling of satisfaction. This is the best way. The standard of this club means it must win some silverware each year.''

"I loved it so much, I enjoyed it so much working with big stars but they knew what it's all about. They showed in the Premier League and Champions League and today, a lot of character.''

"We have worked so hard since February and I respect these guys very much,'' said the Dutchman.

"We had some wonderful performances in the Premier League and also in the Champions League and this is the highlight, to win the FA Cup.''

Asked to compare today's win with his other successes, Hiddink added: "It was one of the biggest, a big achievement, winning in the Mecca of world football, the FA Cup is something you cannot believe.''

Frank Lampard believes winning the FA Cup is the perfect send-off for departing interim manager Guus Hiddink.

Hiddink, who arrived in February, returns to coaching Russia full-time tonight and the 2-1 defeat of Everton at Wembley was a fitting finale to a successful spell in charge.

"He's a great manager and a great man,'' said Lampard, who scored the winning goal after Didier Drogba's header cancelled out Louis Saha's opener after 25 seconds.

"It's a great send-off for him and we're delighted to give him a trophy.

"It was amazing. After we went 1-0 down we dominated the game.

"I always felt we could win it and I'm pleased to get the goal that won it.''

Drogba hailed the battling qualities the Blues showed to come back from 1-0 down after Saha scored the fastest goal in FA Cup final history.

"It's fantastic, I'm delighted,'' Drogba added on ITV Sport. "I'm really happy to finish the season this way.

"It was a difficult start but you have to say it was a very good goal. But our strength is to believe in ourselves and our qualities and we played with more confidence - that's why we won today.''

Drogba also paid tribute to the effect Hiddink has had on Chelsea since he replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"I think the discipline between us was always good - you don't win six or seven trophies in five years if you don't have discipline in friendship. But the manger has given us an extra bit.

"We know his qualities.''

Chelsea skipper John Terry also paid tribute to Hiddink and admitted it was a relief for the Blues to win some silverware again.

"Two years without a trophy, it's been too long. We've seen Man Utd and others winning trophies and it's good to get it (the winning feeling) back.

"It was a great goal from Lamps to win it. He and Ash (Ashley Cole) have been our best players all season.''

Asked about Hiddink's final half-time team talk with the score at 1-1, Terry told ITV: "Credit to him. At half-time he kept things calm. There were no rash changes.

"We gave him an engraved watch and a shirt signed by all the lads. He was really touched.''

Everton manager David Moyes, meanwhile, believed Saha's lightning strike had focused Chelsea on the job in hand as much as his own players.

He said: "It was a great start for us but it seemed to inspire Chelsea. We found ourselves chasing the ball in that first half.

"But we deserved to be in the final. The players performed ever so well through the season but Chelsea just had a bit too much for us today. They were the better team.''

Moyes, however, insisted it was vital that Everton had made it as difficult as possible for Hiddink to win a trophy after just three and a half months in the Chelsea job.

He added: "It was important for the Premier League. You have to work very hard in the Premier League for everything. This is a strong country of football and I wanted to try to beat Guus Hiddink and I congratulate him because he is a good manager but I wanted it to be much harder for him to come into this country and win a trophy.

"But I'm very proud of the players. They weren't out of place today. The game was very tight.''

Moyes joined Hiddink in saluting the goalscoring talents of Lampard.

Everton boss David Moyes had no complaints about the result.

He told ITV1: "Chelsea were the better team on the day.

"I thought we were having our best spell when they got their goal from Frank Lampard. He's a big player and he scores goals, and that's what he did.

"We've talked about Lampard and Malouda and co and the players dealt with it very well, The centre-halves dealt with Drogba very well with the exception of his goal. But Lampard has that ability to win big games at big moments.''

"The margins were very narrow in terms of the result but there were bigger margins on the field.''

Moyes praised the efforts of his players saying: "I've got to give them credit.''

He added: "Last year was a semi-final, this year a final. Whether we won today or whether we hadn't it was progress for us.''

Moyes also lamented the injured players he has been without for long periods this season.

He said: "If Chelsea had gone in without Lampard and Terry and Drogba it would have given us a big lift. We've gone in without Yakuba, Jagielka and Arteta and they are the equivalent players for us.''

Next season, however, Moyes wants Everton to kick on.

"Progress will be winning a cup,'' he said. "It is a tough league but it all about trophies.

"Players like Drogba and Lampard win you cups and leagues and we're trying to develop those sort of players. We need a few more at that level.''

Everton midfielder Tim Cahill declared himself "proud'' of the Merseyside team's efforts this season, in which they also finished fifth in the Premier League.

"The best thing about this team is we stuck together, no matter what,'' Cahill told Setanta 1.

"We've come so far with such a small squad and I'm just proud to be part of this team and wear this shirt.

"I'm just gutted because this was a chance to win some silverware.

"We lose as team and win as a team.

"We're going to hold our heads up high and take this on the chin.

"We've had such a long season with such a small squad.

"I can't be happier playing with a group of lads like this. I just hope everything stays the same for next season.''