Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers on Saturday hailed the “historical achievement” of his side in beating Chelsea 1-0 to lift the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s 137-year history.
Youri Tielemans’ sensational winner was witnessed by 22,000 fans at Wembley.
The largest crowd for a sports event in England since the COVID-19 pandemic hit 14 months ago were treated to a goal worthy to win any trophy, as the Belgian midfielder blasted into the top corner on 63 minutes.
Five years after the Foxes stunned the Premier League’s giants to become champions, Leicester have claimed English football’s other prestigious trophy at the fifth time of asking.
Four times they had previously lost the final, but the last of those was 52 years ago.
“It’s a historical day for the football club,” Rodgers said. “Winning the FA Cup for the first time. I’m so happy for the players and supporters. They’ve lost four finals and now a fifth time we’ve managed to do it for them.”
A historic week for Rodgers’ men could get even better as they are on the verge of sealing a place in next season’s Champions League.
The sides meet again in three days’ time at Stamford Bridge in a pivotal clash to decide who secures a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Rodgers suggested his side were the neutrals favorites as they aim to upset the applecart of the Premier League’s “big six” once more.
Chelsea were among the clubs to sign up to the failed, quasi-closed European Super League project last month, along with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
“The success of this team and club is getting to positions like this and competing. The so-called bigger clubs are expected to win, but our success is competing and if we can perform like today we can go and win,” Rodgers added.
“After everything that has happened this year, I’m sure there were people hoping from a neutral perspective that we could go on and upset the odds,” he said.
Chelsea need a quick response after losing for just the fourth time in 27 games since Thomas Tuchel replaced the sacked Frank Lampard in January.
The Blues also have a Champions League final to look forward to against Manchester City in two weeks, but could end the campaign without silverware or a place in Europe’s premier club competition next season.
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