Lampard: 'Roberto had belief in us. We think we can win every game'
Frank Lampard hailed Roberto Di Matteo after the Chelsea caretaker-manager landed his first trophy in charge of the Blues yesterday, having scored for the club in two Wembley FA Cup final wins. Now he has the Champions' League trophy in his sights with the final against Bayern Munich to come. “Robbie deserves everything, he's turned the club around. He is getting the best out of the players and that is what wins you games,” Lampard said.
Ashley Cole, the England defender, also praised Di Matteo. "It's always nice to be in finals and after the season we have had, disappointing in the League, it is a great experience," he said. "We could have had a disastrous season, now we have won the FA Cup and have the chance to win the Champions' League. Roberto always had belief in us, he saw what we did in training and he trusted us. We always think every game now we can win it, we never give up."
Di Matteo preferred to give credit to his players and even his predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas, noting his efforts . "I'm very happy for players because we've been heavily criticised this season and we've got the trophy and have the chance for another one," he said. "The answer was today on the pitch. The football is always the best way to deliver the answer. It's been a difficult season but the players have made the club proud. It's been hard work but we came through it.
"It's quite a unique situation to be able to win the Cup as a player and then coach the team to win it. I feel honoured to have had this chance. I don't think many people have the opportunity. I'm fortunate enough to have been able to play for this club, win the trophy. And now I've been able to lead the team out today and win the trophy as a coach. It is special.
"We still have two Premier League games to play, which could be vital for us, and then we'll focus on Munich. I'm very pleased with my position until the end of the season, and then the boss will make his decision which is best for the club, and we'll all respect it."
Daniel Agger, the Liverpool defender, admitted that his team had got what they deserved after a poor opening, in which they played passively – only coming to life with the introduction of Andy Carroll as a substitute and showing a greater desire to get the ball, and men, forward.
"It wasn't good enough in the first hour," he said. "We can only blame ourselves. Why did it happen? It's a difficult question to answer, but it wasn't good enough. There's another game in a few days [against Chelsea in the Premier League] and we have to win that one, although we should be motivated by any game in the Premier League. Chelsea did really well."
Some clubs would be overjoyed to reach two Wembley finals – they beat Cardiff City on penalties in the Carling Cup – but although Liverpool like to judge themselves by higher standards, Agger believed the season might be remembered more fondly in hindsight.
"We've done well to get so far in the FA Cup and to win the Carling Cup," he said. "But when you're here now and you've just lost the FA Cup final it's difficult."
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