Football: Gullit's Bridge work `behind cup victory'

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The Independent Online
GIANLUCA VIALLI paid tribute to the groundwork done by his predecessor as Chelsea manager, Ruud Gullit, after his side's Coca-Cola Cup victory at Wembley yesterday.

Vialli, who left himself out of the side for yesterday's final, only took over at Stamford Bridge five weeks ago after Gullit was sacked. But, after extra-time goals from Frank Sinclair and Roberto Di Matteo, he said: "The reason we are here is because Ruud did a great job until he left."

Vialli then spelt out his reason for omitting himself yesterday. "I had great confidence in the other strikers and I thought that today they could play better than me. The only thing I care about is the team," he said.

Sinclair, who has come up through the ranks at Chelsea, was as surprised as anyone to open the scoring. "I thought the ball was going to go out of play but I kept running anyway and Dennis [Wise] got in a great cross," he said.

The Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, admitted that losing a third straight final at Wembley was extremely disappointing. "Sometimes you need a little fortune in a cup final, just to get a break, but it wasn't to be," he said.

Robson also said he had hoped the substitute Paul Gascoigne would be a calming influence in midfield. "I just thought Gazza would show a bit more composure on the ball and spread it about for us," he said. "I thought he did OK for us."