Ivanovic: Chelsea deserved Europa glory
By Football News
Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic feels they deserved to win the UEFA Europa League following their stunning 2-1 win over Benfica on Wednesday.
Ivanovic was the hero for Rafael Benitez's side as his injury-time header handed them victory after Oscar Cardozo's penalty had cancelled out Fernando Torres' strike.
The Serb was delighted to have netted the crucial goal and believes the Stamford Bridge outfit's efforts over a long season merited their latest European triumph.
He told ITV Sport: "It's a great feeling. This team deserved this, because we have had a very difficult season and a lot of games.
"In the end, today was a very hard game and Benfica played very well. But we scored from set pieces and work very hard preparing that part of our game.
"We deserve that trophy."
Torres scored another important goal in European competition following his effort against Barcelona in last year's UEFA Champions League semi-final, and the Spaniard was pleased with Chelsea's second-half showing following a first period in which they were very much second best.
"I am very happy," he added. "It was a very tough game, and Benfica were much better in the first half. The first half was not good enough at all.
"We really wanted to win this Europa League, and maybe this was going to be our only chance."
The London club's victory means midfielder Frank Lampard has now won every domestic competition in England in addition to the two major European titles.
The 34-year-old reaffirmed his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge in the aftermath of the game and was eager to praise the team spirit after Chelsea secured their 11th trophy in 10 seasons.
He explained: "It's been an amazing time for all of us involved. Talk about ups and downs in the last two years! But this is a big up.
"We're a group, a team, and it was tight tonight after the long season we've had. No-one deserves this more than Ivanovic - he has been fantastic.
"You make your own luck, and we stick together in this group. The club deserve it."