'Beating a superior team makes whole thing taste better'

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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur's victory had a "special flavour" because they defeated, in Chelsea, "a team that were supposedly superior to us", the head coach, Juande Ramos, said last night.

The Spaniard likened the triumph to the ones he experienced over Real Madrid and Barcelona while he was in charge of Seville, adding, "Perhaps it makes the whole thing taste better. It's tremendously satisfying. It's been a long time since Tottenham Hotspur has achieved success like this and for a club as big as Tottenham it feels longer."

With food and drink, and the weight of the players, becoming such a big issue at Spurs since he took over last autumn, Ramos added that he would be allowing his squad to celebrate – and had already enjoyed a drink with them in the dressing room. "But you cannot tell, can you?" Ramos said. "Anyway, it's not a strict diet. It's a nice diet – and sometimes it allows them to eat and drink without control."

At the end it was the Chelsea players who lacked that with Didier Drogba and Petr Cech confronting the referee, Mark Halsey, before being pulled away by the assistant manager, Henk Ten Cate. Avram Grant, the Chelsea manager, blamed the defeat on the actions of the official – including the penalty award and the timing with which the final whistle was blown.

"They are upset because he [Halsey] stopped the game with [Salomon] Kalou in front of the goal, how can he decide it's one second more, two second more?" Grant said. "The players are angry. We cannot take the time back. We have lost the final. That's all. It [the penalty] was a rash decision. It was not even his decision – it was the decision of the linesman. I think not every time the player touches the ball with his hand it's a penalty. But it has to be deliberate."

Grant conceded that Spurs were "more dangerous than us" once they had equalised but said until then that his team had controlled the game. He also defended his selection – claiming that playing Drogba and Nicolas Anelka together for the first time had not been a "gamble". He added: "This is not a casino. There is thought behind it. It can be a good combination."

Robbie Keane, the Spurs striker, said the triumph could be significant. "Hopefully this is start of something special, hopefully we can kick on now," he said. Ledley King, the captain, said: "You saw the commitment levels from the players we showed we're a good team when we got going."

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