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Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Vialli: "We were worthy winners"
Gianluca Vialli
Gianluca Vialli: "I am very pleased for everyone"
Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli believes his players were rewarded with FA Cup victory because of the hard work they had put in throughout a long and tiring season.

The Chelsea boss responded to his team's 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in a lacklustre match at Wembley and took the opportunity to give them all a vote of confidence for continued success next term. "It has been a long season of ups and downs - but this is the best way to finish it," he said.

"I am very pleased for everybody because we have put so much effort in this season, and this is a great reward."

It is just a pity for me that they are going to rip this stadium down because it is quite a lucky place for me

Chelsea goalscorer Roberto Di Matteo
"We have made mistakes in the first half and we knew we had to have more quality. The quality in the first half was not good enough."

Playing down reports that his cosmopolitan team is about to be dismantled in the quest for Premiership and Champions League honours, Vialli added: "We want to improve the team every season, and if we can do something we will.

"Otherwise we will stick with these players, because they are a great bunch of players and they always do their best."


Villa boss John Gregory praised his side's effort and refused to heap any blame on James, whose blunder gifted Chelsea their winner.

"He got us to the final," said Gregory of his goalkeeper. "He has done unbelievable things this season to get us in this position in the first place.

"In the semi-final he was outstanding and certainly no criticism can be placed on anybody.

He has done unbelievable things this season to get us in this position in the first place

Villa manager John Gregory on keeper David James

"We put in an enormous amount of effort in the first period and I thought we did exceptionally well during that time. We put a lot of pressure on the Chelsea goal but we didn't get a break. They did.

"We've done exceptionally well today I think."

Vialli's fellow Italian Roberto di Matteo, who scored the winning goal, made light of his own contribution.

"It really didn't matter who scored," said the man who also set Chelsea on the way to victory with an early goal against Middlesbrough in the 1997 final.

"We have finished the season in a great way. It is just a pity for me that they are going to rip this stadium down because it is quite a lucky place for me."

Chelsea keeper Ed de Goey admitted the Blues had not been at their best but was relieved that the Blues had not finished the season empty handed.

"It's unbelievable, so special," said de Goey. "We didn't create a lot of chances but who cares, we've got a trophy. We got the prize we wanted and it's a great feeling."

A dejected Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis summed up the mood in the Birmingham side's camp when he said it was a "desperate" time for Villa.

He said: "I think it would be fair to say we had the best of the first half but the second half, Chelsea had it, no doubt about it.

"They were the better side in the second half and congratulations to them.

"It's an honour to get to the final but the icing on the cake would have been to win it."

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See also:

20 May 00 | FA Cup
Chelsea claim FA Cup glory
20 May 00 | FA Cup
Wembley clockwatch
19 May 00 | Football
Famous FA Cup finals - in pictures
13 May 00 | FA Cup
Roads to Wembley
13 May 00 | FA Cup
Aston Villa squad guide
13 May 00 | FA Cup
Chelsea squad guide
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