Chelsea survived a late Liverpool onslaught to win Saturday evening's FA Cup final at Wembley.

Goals either side of the interval from Ramires and Didier Drogba put Liverpool under pressure, but Kenny Dalglish's team improved as the game wore on.

Substitute Andy Carroll trimmed the deficit and then in an interesting climax the former Newcastle attacker was denied by a great Petr Cech save.

Some Liverpool players claimed the ball crossed the line, but referee Phil Dowd didn't award the goal and Chelsea prevailed.

Liverpool triumphed in the Carling Cup and Dalglish is adamant that his squad are gaining experience.

"They've been in two cup finals in this season - they'll have enjoyed the first one more than the second.

"The lads will benefit from the experience. You can't give a team like Chelsea a two-goal head start.

"They were the best team for the first hour but we finished strongly and maybe if we'd started that way we'd be happier than we are now.

"I thought the ball went in but if it hasn't then give the officials the credit they deserve. We've just got to learn our lessons from it and understand we can't start the game like that."

Carroll, who made a significant impact, reckoned the Reds were unlucky. "I thought it was over the line and you know better than me but I thought it was. I thought it hit the other side of the bar but I haven't seen it back.

"I had a few chances and could have put them away but it wasn't to be. We came here to win, it's been disappointing in the league, we got here and it was unlucky because it would have taken us into extra time. I did the best I could when I came on and we were unlucky."

Interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo remained calm and composed about his future despite earning silverware for the Londoners.

"The boss (Roman Abramovich) will make a decision at the end of the season. I'm very relaxed about it and the players will be fine. I am a very fortunate person so it is not an issue.

"I am very pleased with my position until the end of the season. The boss will then make a decision he feels is best for the club and we will respect that.

"I am very pleased for the players. We have had a difficult season with a lot of criticism but they have responded to all the adversity we have faced. I'm very pleased and satisfied with our performance.

"I also think Andre Villas-Boas should get some credit because he started us off on this run in the FA Cup."

Skipper John Terry was thrilled that Chelsea emerged victorious. "It's fantastic, it's what we live for. At times people have slated us as too old, past it or not together but as a team we come together and unite when our backs are against the wall and we've done that superbly in the last 16 or 17 games.

"We've still got a massive trophy, the Champions League - that's the target for the owner from day dot."

Former Arsenal full back Ashley Cole claimed his seventh FA Cup winners medal and is encouraged by the manner in which Chelsea are ending this campaign. "It's not about me. It's down to the team that I have managed to achieve that and I'm very humbled.

"We could have had a disastrous season but now we've won the FA Cup and we want to go and make history in the Champions League.

"There's a great team spirit and feeling of togetherness. There's a feeling that we can win every game that we play."


Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo