Christian keeps the faith after final drama

Christian Dailly insists that, once the dust has settled on our unforgettable FA Cup final encounter, West Ham United will be able to look forward to next season with renewed optimism.

The Scottish international defender appeared as a second-half substitute at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and, as the longest-serving outfield player at the Club, is well qualified to comment on what he believes is the most exciting Hammers squad since he arrived at Upton Park five years ago.

"Everybody is still sick at the moment," says Christian, "but I suppose it will ease off in time. For the rest of our lives, I'm sure we'll be uttering a few swear words whenever we look back on that game and how it ended, but we can also take a lot of positives from the experience that will stand us in good stead for next season.

"All I know is that, since I came to West Ham United five years ago, the team I am involved in now has got as great a chance as any of going on to win a trophy in the future.

"There is so much young talent and quality here now, and hopefully it will be added to in the summer, so there is plenty to be positive about and I'm sure the Club can go on to greater success in the seasons ahead."

Like most of us, Christian still winces when the words 'Steven Gerrard' and 'last-minute equaliser' are mentioned, but he also admits to feeling huge pride when looking back at the contribution Alan Pardew's men made in an FA Cup final that will go down as one of the greatest ever.

"I think everyone hoped that, with West Ham playing the way we do, it would be a great final, and that was how it turned out," he says. "I don't think you would have got a final like that with any other team in the league

"We gave ourselves every chance of winning it and I thought we were in a very comfortable position towards the end - we looked solid, kept our shape well, and it felt like we had it in the bag.

"Then Steven Gerrard hits that unbelievable strike. We know what he is capable of and he has scored some great goals in the past, but I don't think he has scored any quite as good as that.

"We were still comfortable in extra-time, though. Liverpool had very little left in the tank and, if anyone was going to win it, it was us. We had that chance at the end, where it hit the post and then fell to Marlon, who could hardly walk, and in the end it just wasn't meant to be."