Malky Mackay reflected on a "fine night's work" after watching his Cardiff side book a place in the Carling Cup final with a penalty shootout victory over Crystal Palace.
Goalkeeper Tom Heaton was the Bluebirds' hero, saving two Palace spot-kicks after Anthony Gardner's own goal levelled the tie 1-1 on aggregate. For Mackay the win justified the effort and commitment put in by his players, who dominated their guests for much of the match and spent almost the whole of extra time camped in Palace territory after Paddy McCarthy was sent off.
He said: "I was delighted with the way we went about our business. I was very proud of them. We started the game on fire. The early goal calmed everything down and allowed us to probe. It calmed the crowd down and let them attack the game. It was a fine night's work."
The Welsh outfit's trip to next month's Wembley showpiece was then secured when Jonathan Parr skied his effort from 12 yards high and wide.
Mackay added: "When Aron Gunnarsson hit the bar with the last header of the tie you do think it may be one of those evenings.
"It's obviously a lottery when it goes to penalty kicks but I had great belief in their ability and spirit to keep going. I'm delighted for the group of players, I'm delighted for the football club tonight.
"You look all the way through the competition, from Oxford when we had 10 players missing through international duty to tonight where it was always going to be tough, we've shown character and spirit. Tonight another little bit of history has been made for this football club. It's terrific for everyone at the football club and everyone should embrace it."
Mackay reserved special praise for Heaton, who made the most of his moment in spotlight to capture the headlines.
"He knew this was his competition, I told him that all the way through," he said. "He probably had a little bit of criticism after the goal in the first leg but I'm delighted for him tonight.
"He's someone who's got great character about him and he's one of the leaders in the dressing room and he thoroughly deserves the accolades tonight."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer