Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0: Jose Mourinho praises Brendan Rodgers after fantastic Capital One Cup encounter

Branislav Ivanovic scored the winner with a towering header in extra-time

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Jose Mourinho was delighted to beat Liverpool but went out of his way to praise former protege Brendan Rodgers

Jose Mourinho was happy with the win but made sure to praise Liverpool, managed by his former protege Brendan Rodgers.

Branislav Ivanovic's goal at the start of extra-time gave Chelsea a 1-0 win on the night, 2-1 on aggregate, but it was a stern test not only for all 120 minutes on Tuesday night, but also in the first leg which finished 1-1.

"I think in the second half we were better than them and also in extra-time but I want to be honest, fair with them," he said on Sky Sports 1.

"I want to say they were there, a very good team, it's great work by Brendan changing the shape and the mode of play because the way they started the season they were not going in the right direction.

"But he was intelligent enough to change, to create a new team, because this is a new Liverpool and they were a very difficult opponent and I'm even happier because we beat a very good team over two legs."

Tempers threatened to boil over more than once on the night, with Chelsea striker Diego Costa appearing to stamp on Emre Can before being denied a penalty of his own - just two of several incidents.

Mourinho added of the penalty claim: "If I speak, people will say it's Mourinho again. If I speak the FA will try to punish me as they always do so I think it is better for you to do it, but it's so clear, so clear, and that is difficult to accept, even winning the game, so I have to ask myself why."

Branislav Ivanovic hailed his side's character after they overcame Liverpool. "It was a very, very difficult game and we are very happy we are going to Wembley," said Ivanovic.

"We are waiting for tomorrow's game (the other semi-final between Tottenham and Sheffield United) but this is a game where we showed the real character of the team and we are happy, very happy."

Ivanovic headed home from a free-kick in the 94th minute, having escaped the attentions of Mario Balotelli.

"It was very difficult," he added. "I'm happy about my goal but this game was an example of how the team has to play and how the team wins the game."

Rodgers claimed his side were the better over the two legs, with Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois proving the main obstacle.

"I'm very proud of the team, over the two legs we were the better side and their goalkeeper has got them to the final," he said. "At Anfield and here tonight he's made very, very important saves and that's won them the game.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

"Obviously they got the goal at the beginning of extra-time but that was irrelevant - we knew we needed to score tonight and the players gave everything. They're dead on their feet at the end. We pressed, worked hard, played fantastic football and created chances to win the game but unfortunately we were not clinical enough."

On Costa's clashes, he added: "These things happen but I don't think anyone watching likes to see what Diego Costa's done, not just on (Martin) Skrtel, but also on Can, a young player who is clearly stamped on. It's easy to land somewhere else without having to land directly on an opponent's ankle and it's disappointing to see on the replay.

"He's very fortunate the linesman and referee didn't see that."

Additional reporting from PA