Brendan Rodgers reflects on ‘special day’ as he leads Leicester to FA Cup glory
Triumphant Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers saluted his fantastic Foxes after their historic FA Cup victory.
Leicester lifted the trophy for the first time after Youri Tielemans’ second-half stunner beat Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley.
Tielemans settled a tight game which saw late drama with two fine saves from Kasper Schmeichel and former Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell having a goal ruled out by VAR.
Leicester had lost all of their previous four finals, their last coming in 1969, but finally won the trophy on Saturday.
Rodgers said: “I’m very proud, it’s a historic day for the club. Winning the FA Cup for the first time is clearly a special day. The players were so courageous in the game.
“I’m so pleased for Khun Top (chairman) and the family. It was a dream of theirs to win the FA Cup and we have been able to deliver that.
“We were playing against the Champions League finalists, we knew at times we’d have to suffer but we were worthy of the win.
“Every final you ever enter you want to win it. I have an overriding feeling of satisfaction but I’m more pleased for everyone else, the feeling it gives the supporters.
“It’s a trophy the club really wanted to win. It was a great victory for us. For a club like Leicester to be in the final with a great club like Chelsea, people may have been hoping from a neutral point of view we could go on and upset the odds.”
Chelsea edged the first half without ever testing Schmeichel as Timo Werner and Mason Mount shot wide.
But Leicester began to find their feet after the break and Tielemans won the cup in the 63rd minute when he collected Luke Thomas’ pass, advanced and smashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner from 25 yards.
Chelsea tried to find a leveller and Chilwell’s header was saved by Schmeichel who then made an even better stop to turn Mount’s sharp drive wide.
Chelsea thought they had grabbed a dramatic leveller with two minutes left when a combination of Chilwell and Wes Morgan bundled in after Chilwell latched on to Thiago Silva’s pass, despite Leicester’s best attempts to clear.
But VAR ruled former Foxes defender Chilwell was narrowly offside and Leicester survived to lift the trophy.
Rodgers has now won all seven finals he has managed in but insisted it is not about him.
“Every trophy you win is special, this is my seventh final and luckily I have been able to win all seven, you can do that with players who have courage,” he said.
“I’m proud on a personal front but it’s about everyone else, seeing the happiness on supporters’ faces. It’s a special day.”
Around 21,000 fans were also in Wembley, with 6,250 official Leicester supporters seeing their side live for the first time in over a year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Rodgers added: “It’s been such a tough year for the supporters, the pandemic has kept them out of the stadium but as we have seen today that’s what it is about, the connection between the fans, players and staff.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere and I’m so happy Leicester supporters could be there to see us win it.”
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