On Eduardo’s dream return to first-team action…
“I am not surprised he played well tonight. I didn’t play him as a reward for his excellent work; it was because in training over the past few weeks he has done extremely well. He made a big step forward two weeks ago when he found sharpness in front of goal and in his runs and he got rid of his apprehension in the tackles.

“Of course it is nearly 12 months out and he has been extremely strong mentally during that time, I could never see one minute of doubt in his mind or one minute where he said ‘no, I don’t want to do it’. He always wanted more and this guy is small but has the mental strength of a mountain.

“He is intelligent, talented and he understands what is happening quickly. He responds very quickly to every situation. That is why he is a striker. He is a quiet boy. He is very, very quiet – he is focussed but of course very happy tonight.“

On the striker’s poignant celebration with Tony Colbert…
“I think Tony Colbert has spent more time with Eduardo than with his wife. So perhaps he deserves that kind of hug. The physios and doctors have as well done a tremendous job with him. We use him when he is ready but they did a lot of work with him and have done a great job.”

On the importance of having him back…
“We will know how important this was at the end of the season. I am very happy to have him back because he gives us options. He can play on flank, he can play central, he can play on the shoulder or upfront on his own. It is fantastic for us.

“I still have to be cautious with him and I cannot throw him in every three days after nine months. We will see how he responds to that hamstring and maybe he can be with us on Saturday, I don’t know.”

On the fantastic team performance…

“Of course everybody’s happy for him but I believe it was a good team performance; dynamic, convincing and mobile. We played the kind of football we love to play and it is good to see us play with handbrake off. We are now consistent, we are stable defensively, and we added tonight our drive going forward.

“We played the game we want to play and Eduardo played a big part in that. Everybody is of course pleased for him tonight.”

On Cardiff’s performance…

“They gave us a hard time over there. I felt today the speed of our passing gave them a big problem. It is easier to play our kind of football here than it was at Ninian Park.

“Something in the Cardiff team, when we played them over there, made me think they have real belief and the real quality. I didn’t see any weak position in their team, where you think they aren’t good enough.  Today they were dominated as a team, and it is very difficult tonight to find the same impression because of that. They had to run after the game after we scored which was much more difficult.

“We have played Burnley and Cardiff and I would say they are sides who have a chance to come up, a really good chance. If you look at the table Cardiff are 12 points behind the leaders with a few games in hand. They have a good chance but I think for them it is better to go out of the FA Cup.”

On taking FA cup confidence into the league…
“We are very consistent and we are on a very strong run. We missed the goals recently but I believe we are on a very strong run. We promised ourselves we would give everything until the last day of the season. At the moment Man United look untouchable – they are 12 points ahead with a game against Fulham which they will certainly win. Their results are really consistent, they win 1-0. You always think during the game that they may drop points but they always manage to find the resources to win the game.

“If they win the game in hand they are 15 points in front. That means we need to lose five. Say they lose one against us, that is four. They still need to lose another four but they haven’t done that yet. Our basic target is to get in the Champions League which means the league is our priority.”

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16 Feb 2009