Finnan's delight

Tuesday 12 March 2002

Fulham defender Steve Finnan has spoken of his delight after winning through to this this years FA Cup Semi Final.

Speaking on Monday the Irish International said:

"We had to battle all the way against West Brom at the Hawthorns yesterday but I thought we thoroughly deserved the result. It wasn't the greatest spectacle for the fans but there was an FA Cup semi-final place at stake and I hope they realise that the result rather than the performance had to be paramount.

"West Brom made life difficult for us and it was easy to see how they had knocked out Sunderland and Leicester in the earlier rounds. They were definitely a better outfit than the side we faced in Division One last season and there was a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle went and we knew we were through to the last four.

He continued:

"Getting through to the semi-finals, the first time for Fulham in 27 years, is a great achievement and just goes to prove wrong all the critics who questioned whether a team with a lot of French players would be fully committed to the competition.

"I still don't know why people persist with the argument that foreign players can't appreciate the history or the magic of the FA Cup but I think we've shown pretty conclusively this season that non-British players are just as up for it as anyone else. We've played every round away from home and got the results yet some cynics still think we don't understand what the competition means.

"Even in pre-season, the boss spoke to us of the importance of the FA Cup to the players and told the squad it was a competition that he took very seriously. He made it clear right from the start that he expected us to have a long run and all the players, whatever their nationality, took the message on board.

"We got Chelsea out of the hat on Sunday for the semis and I can't say I'm disappointed. It's a game that holds absolutely no fears for us and after our narrow defeat at Stamford Bridge last week, we're confident we can go one better and reach the final.

"On their day, Chelsea are one of the best sides in the country and you only have to look at their performance against Spurs on Sunday to see what they're capable of. But they're certainly not infallible and I know we can beat them. Maybe we'll need the run of the green on the day to win but I definitely don't see us as massive underdogs."