DEMBA BA: PERFECT RESPONSE
After scoring the only goal of the game against Manchester United to book our place in the FA Cup semi-finals, Demba Ba spoke of the collective desire to ensure we go on and retain the trophy.
The Chelsea striker, who impressed throughout, pounced three minutes into the second half on Monday, latching on to a Juan Mata pass and steering a wonderful volley beyond David de Gea to seal a deserved 1-0 victory against the league leaders.
The Senegalese international hailed the strike as one of the best of his career, and paid tribute to the provider.
'The pass was perfect, it was a good timing of the run and when it's like that it makes it difficult for the defender to intercept the ball,' Ba reflected. 'I was very well connected on this occasion with [Juan] Mata.
'Because it was brilliant and it was in an important game as well, so that makes it even more exciting.'
Ba has now hit the target five times since signing for the Blues in January, and admitted he has no problem with Rafael Benitez's preference for rotating his strikers.
'It's a big squad and we have a lot of games, especially this season,' he said. 'The manager has been changing the players in every game, but still the players are able to perform so that's positive.
'I have to come in and out because I can't play in Europe, Fernando [Torres] will play in the week, but he [Benitez] has been managing it well because he can keep us happy and we can still play a lot of minutes on the pitch. When you have rotation and there are a lot of games, like we have, it's good.'
Manchester City now await in the semi-finals at Wembley in just under a fortnight's time, a match which will be preceded by a two-legged Europa League quarter-final against Rubin Kazan as well as a crucial Premier League encounter against Sunderland.
Ba is yet to win a trophy in his career, and while he acknowledged the importance of securing Champions League qualification for next season, he, along with the rest of the squad, remain desperate to get their hands on some silverware.
'We always talk about trophies and say we want to win them, but you have to prove it on the pitch. As the season closes in, you have the more important games,' said Ba.
'The Champions League is important but we also want to win some trophies. We are in a good position in two competitions, the FA Cup and Europa League, and we will be doing everything to win them both.
'I'm looking forward to the semi-final, we are playing against one of the best teams in the country so it will be a tough one, but we will go there to win.'
The victory against Manchester United was richly deserved, particularly given the manner of our comeback from 2-0 down at Old Trafford in the initial game.
A brilliant defensive display nullified the visitors' threat for much of the game, and Ba felt it was the perfect response following Saturday's defeat at Southampton.
'You have some days like that, the only thing you can do is keep going and believe in yourself, that's what it's all about,' said the Blues striker.
'A lot of teams have periods sometimes when they're not at their best. We didn't perform very well against Southampton and we just wanted to come out against United and show what we're capable of.'