LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea captain Gary Cahill said Chelsea needed their FA Cup win on Saturday to save a disappointing season where they failed to retain their Premier League title and finished fifth, out of the Champions League places.
Forward Eden Hazard earned the London side a 1-0 win over Manchester United with a 22nd-minute penalty at Wembley.
“This was to save our season. We haven’t had a magnificent season by any stretch,” Cahill said on the pitch as his team mates celebrated in front of their roaring fans. “We are used to winning — I’m not saying that in an arrogant way.
“We needed to win this for everybody. We are not in control of decisions,” he added before lifting the trophy alongside under-pressure manager Antonio Conte.
Conte has been tipped to leave Chelsea at the end of the season after apparently falling out with his bosses over transfer policy.
But on Saturday the Italian warmly embraced owner Roman Abramovich’s chairman Bruce Buck when he climbed Wembley’s steps to collect his medal.
Hazard, himself the subject of transfer speculation told the BBC: “We tried to defend well. We kept a clean sheet, we scored one goal. It is enough today but if we want to win a lot of games we need to play better because we had to play defensively.”
But the Belgian sidestepped questions about his future.
“Now I am just happy,” he said. “To see the fans celebrate is something we like. We didn’t have a great season but at least we finish with a trophy.”
Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Ruediger was named man of the match.
“Chelsea is about winning titles,” he said. “Although we had a bad season we still won a trophy. Especially for me, this is my first season and I win a trophy. I am very happy.”
Reporting by Clare Lovell,; Editing by Neville Dalton