'We've had so many games, so many injuries... yet now we're in a final'

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The Independent Football

Avram Grant denied that the art of kidology could be found in his manual of football tactics as he sought to explain how his delight at taking a step towards his first trophy as Chelsea manager might have created confusion in the light of his pre-match comments about the Carling Cup.

The Israeli had seemed to suggest that Everton's ambition would be stronger than Chelsea's when he spoke of his team's "bigger priorities" yet his side's performance last night revealed no lack of desire and his reaction at the final whistle was hardly one of indifference.

"Maybe I don't understand English that well or you don't understand my English," he said. "Since I have been in football I have never been in a match I did not want to win. We take every competition seriously.

"You [the media] might want to change the facts to suit your story but the one fact that cannot be changed is that we are in the final."

Grant went on to suggest that he believes Chelsea's achievements over recent weeks were deserving of greater recognition than he feels they have received.

"Everyone needs to respect what Chelsea have done in the last month," he said. "We have had so many games, so many problems with personnel in that players have been injured or are away, yet we are third in the Premier League, four points off the top, we are still in the Champions League and now in a final at Wembley."

The Everton manager, David Moyes, applauded the Goodison crowd for acknowledging the effort put in by his players but admitted they had been found wanting when it mattered.

"We had opportunities but we did not take them," he said. "We played well in periods of the game and it was a brilliant effort but we have to find the special ingredient that will get us into finals and help us stay in the top four in the League. Maybe it is about quality, maybe Chelsea's players had that little bit more, although of course we missed Yobo, Yakubu and Pienaar [who are at the African Nations Cup].

"By the end of the season we will know whether we are finding that missing ingredient," Moyes added, "and we have the bit between our teeth now we are out of this competition to do well in the Uefa Cup, which is the competition that gives us the best chance now for this season."