Anton: Semi-final triumph still sinking in

Anton Ferdinand admits that the achievement of reaching the FA Cup final is slowly beginning to sink in, almost 48 hours after our memorable 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Despite being physically shattered following his first game back after a hip injury that ruled him out for three weeks, the Hammers defender was the last man off the pitch at Villa Park having completed at least three laps of honour in front of the ecstatic claret and blue faithful, and says he will remember the scenes forever.

"It was an unbelievable feeling," said the Hammers defender. "My calves were cramping up at the final whistle but nothing was going to stop me celebrating with the fans.

"I still can't believe that we are in the FA Cup final and the UEFA Cup next season, it's only just starting to sink in. It is a fantastic achievement and I know how much it means to the supporters - you could tell that by the way they were all celebrating at the end!"

Reflecting on the game itself, Anton admits that some half-time words of inspiration from Alan Pardew helped Hammers to bounce back after a fairly tepid first-half performance, as a rousing display after the interval culminated in Marlon Harewood's 78th minute winner - a goal that began with Anton's searching crossfield pass on to the head of Dean Ashton.

"It was certainly a game of two halves," he says. "The gaffer hit the nail on the head at half-time when he said that we had to keep the ball better and up the tempo, and in the second half we did that.

"We knew Middlesbrough might tire as the game wore on, and our fitness levels have held us in good stead all season, so it was a case of getting our game right and passing the ball well, which we did in the second half.

"It was nice to be involved in the build-up to the goal, but it was really down to Deano and Marlon, whose finish was fantastic.

"I can't wait for the final now," he adds. "We've already achieved something in getting to Europe but there is still a massive prize to play for and we won't be going to the final just to make the numbers up. We're in it to win it."