Redknapp revels in Cup success

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp believes he has finally won the Pompey fans over after he put personal problems behind him to mastermind the 1-0 FA Cup final triumph over Cardiff.

Portsmouth won their first major trophy for 69 years and Redknapp believes any lingering doubts the fans had about him have been erased.

Redknapp has endured a troubled season off the field, but was pleased to turn the attention on a victory secured by Kanu’s first-half goal.

He said: “It’s been a difficult year in many ways for me but as far as the football is concerned it’s fantastic.

“In life, everyone goes through tough times and it’s been a difficult few weeks but we got the result today and that’s great.

“How will I celebrate? If I can get away and see if my dogs are all right at home then get my wife in the car I’d like to slip out tonight to a nice local restaurant and have a bottle of wine.

“Then maybe I’ll take a ride around the town and see how the fans are celebrating.

“Let’s face it, this win is all for them isn’t it? It’s a long time since Pompey fans – a long time for Cardiff fans – have been to a cup final but they’ve had a great day.

“For me the biggest feeling is one of relief. There are no easy games any more and Cardiff gave us a tough battle.

“But you just have to see it through when the pressure is on just like I’ve had to go into work every day with a smile on my face. That’s my job to make sure everyone’s up and not feel sorry for myself.”

Redknapp added: “The fans are great and it’s a glory day today but as far as achievements go maybe it isn’t as big as coming back to the club two years ago and keeping us up when we looked dead and buried.”

Redknapp came back to Fratton Park in December 2005 after a year managing local rivals Southampton and had to endure cries of “Judas” from the Pompey supporters, but he steered them clear of relegation.

He said: “It wasn’t easy and I have no doubt if we had gone down I wouldn’t be here now talking about an FA Cup final win.

“When I looked at the quarter-final draw and saw we’d got Manchester United away I thought that was that again but we got a 1-0 win up there, kept a clean sheet and got none of the credit we should have done.

“But I think the players have deserved this today and so have I, even though I feel for Dave Jones who I’ve got a lot of time for.

“Kanu has been fantastic for us. That’s a semi-final and a final he has won with his goals and yet when I signed him at the start of last season on a free transfer from West Brom people said I was mad.

“I thought when he missed the first chance today it could be costly but he keeps on going, keeps on trying to do the right things and he’s a big plus for us.”

Pompey now qualify for the UEFA Cup and Redknapp will try to bring in two or three more targets he has been looking at to add to the squad in the summer.

He said: “It depends on who you can get how well you can do but we’re hopeful of improving the squad.

“But it is going to be even tougher to get into the top four next season. Tottenham are the only side I can really see possibly doing it with their squad.

“But I’ll be looking for the top half of the table again and maybe another Wembley trip. That will do nicely.”

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