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Avram Grant hails Portsmouth's FA Cup win over Spurs

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Grant celebrates 'biggest' achievement

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant said an FA Cup final spot was a reward for not giving up during a season of turmoil.

A day after relegation from the Premier League, two extra-time goals gave debt-ridden Pompey a 2-0 win over Tottenham and set up a final with Chelsea in May.

"To be in the final because of what's happened is a good lesson to everybody not to take the easy solution. The easy solution is to give up," stated Grant.

"We have lived day by day. Despite this we're in the final. It is a crazy day."

Portsmouth's place in the Championship next season was confirmed after West Ham's 1-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday left the top flight's bottom side 17 points from safety with only 15 points to play for.

"This is a great achievement after what has happened," added Grant.

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"One day I came and all my staff said to me next week there is no club. We could write a book about the many things against us this season.

"I cannot even describe what I feel. This achievement is more than football - to be in the final, it's unbelievable."

Portsmouth's relegation had been expected following their nine-point deduction as punishment for going into administration in February.

But even before the points penalty it had looked likely that Grant's side would be battling against the drop and they had gone into Sunday's semi-final as rank outsiders.

However, the south-coast club produced a spirited and gritty display to stun Spurs in one of the most memorable shocks in the competition's last four in recent years.

After holding out to 0-0 in normal time, Frederic Piquionne's strike and a Kevin-Prince Boateng penalty three minutes from the end guided Pompey to the final, where they will face Double-chasing Cup holders Chelsea.

Grant, who replaced the sacked Paul Hart at Fratton Park in February, enthused: "These fans this year, I will not forget it all my life.

"This achievement belongs to the fans and the players. The players did not give up and these fans show how fans need to be."

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant celebrates
The usually sedate Avram Grant releases some emotion at Wembley

Harry Redknapp's Tottenham, with former Pompey heroes Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe in their starting line-up, had edged an uninspiring 90 minutes but the London side had no answer to Portsmouth's two extra-time goals.

"Even if we had come with our strongest squad, Tottenham are still probably better than us," reflected Grant, who was without the cup-tied Jamie O'Hara, as well as the injured Tal Ben Haim, Danny Webber and Hermann Hreidarsson.

"With tactics you can do things against teams that play very good football.

"We didn't even have one defender on the bench. They did a great job, they scored two goals, what more can I ask?"

Israeli Grant, meanwhile, was reluctant to assess his side's chances of producing another major shock in the 15 May final against his former club.

"In football, anything can happen but let's celebrate and then we will think about the final."

Redknapp, who led Pompey to FA Cup glory in 2008, paid tribute to his former club, despite being bitterly upset with the state of the Wembley surface and that his midfielder Niko Kranjcar was denied a goal for a challenge on keeper David James.

"It was a good goal that we had disallowed, I've watched it four or five times but that's how it goes," said Redknapp.

"It wasn't our day. We had opportunities but we couldn't stick one away. Full credit to Portsmouth, they were always dangerous on the counter-attack and had pace.

"Credit too to Avram Grant. He's done a great job because they were well set up and organised."



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see also
Tottenham 0-2 Portsmouth (aet)
11 Apr 10 |  FA Cup
Sunday football as it happened
11 Apr 10 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
11 Apr 10 |  Football
Wembley pitch faces new criticism
11 Apr 10 |  Tottenham
West Ham win relegates Portsmouth
10 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth
Cup win 'prompted Pompey crisis'
09 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey bidder to start data trawl
03 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth goes into administration
26 Feb 10 |  Front Page


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