Branislav Ivanović agreed "it didn't get any better" than scoring a late winner in such a big game as his goal earned Chelsea FC the UEFA Europa League title in dramatic fashion.
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Man of the match Branislav Ivanović was in the mood you might expect of a player who had scored an added-minute winner in a major European final. The Chelsea FC defender's looping header gave the London team a 2-1 victory against SL Benfica at the Amsterdam ArenA, a "massive moment" for player and club alike. David Luiz, who was used in midfield, had sympathy for his ex-colleagues at Benfica, but praised Chelsea manager Rafael Benítez for his impact at Stamford Bridge.
Branislav Ivanović, Chelsea defender
Yeah – I agree [it can't get any better than scoring the winner in a European final]. It's a great feeling and massive for me and my career. The whole team deserves this – we really played so hard all season and we deserve to finish the season with a trophy. It's been very hard, but we showed the power, we showed our character and it's a great feeling for us as a team, for the club, for the supporters and now it's time to enjoy.
We've played a lot of games and tried to fight for every point in the league, and in the Europa League we've had our chance to win a trophy, a very important trophy for us and for the fans. We prepare for every game and in the end we are very happy.
It was a very difficult game. In the first half Benfica played very well – we didn't have enough intensity. In the second we scored and in the end I think we deserved to win, though for us now I don't think the time is to think how the game was won, but how we will celebrate. It's going to be great, we play the last game at home in front of our own supporters [against Everton FC on Sunday] and this will be a great chance for us to celebrate this trophy with them.
David Luiz, Chelsea midfielder
It was a very difficult season, especially after the Champions League exit because last season we won that competition. It was a very demanding year. We were expected – obliged – to do very well after last year and there was pressure and demand from everyone. We lost three finals this seaon [FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup] and now I want to dedicate this victory to [manager] Rafael Benítez because he did a wonderful job with us.
It's wonderful to win both European competitions. I left Benfica, a club that I loved, everyone knows I love that club. It was difficult to leave but this is the reason I left Benfica – for big titles like this. I am very happy that things are going well. Benfica played a great game. They had a great intensity and deserved to be in this final. They have top players and the coach does a great job with them.
It was a very difficult game. They were fresher than us. So, as they were fresher, our approach was to restrain their attacking intent. Our goal was to work like a sniper and to score at the right moments. I would have preferred to beat a different team in the final.