LONDON (Reuters) – The way Aston Villa overcame the odds to beat Liverpool in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley is the template for success in Saturday’s final against Arsenal, manager Tim Sherwood said on Thursday.
Villa beat the Merseysiders 2-1 with one of their best performances of an indifferent season, two months after Sherwood replaced Paul Lambert, who had been sacked with the team 18th in the Premier League.
“I believe we’re going to get a performance like we put in against Liverpool,” he told a news conference.
“I know what the boys are capable of in one-off games. On big occasions, they’ve produced the goods and we need to do it one more time.
“The boys performed on a huge stage as underdogs against Liverpool, but we deserved to win that game and we’re hoping we can do the same.”
Cup holders Arsenal finished third in the Premier League, 14 places above Villa, and beat them twice, by 3-0 and 5-0, before Sherwood took over.
“Arsenal are probably the best footballing team in the league,” he said. “They are a top, top football team. Theyâ€™ve got players that can win a game on their own.
“I have a lot of respect for (manager) Arsene Wenger. He sticks to his philosophy. I know exactly how he’ll play.”
Sherwood said he intends to counter Arsenal’s close-passing style by attacking them in an attempt to earn Villa the cup for the first time since 1957.
“We intend to take the game to them. The boys know they can make history. Someone can be a hero. It’s an opportunity for everyone to write the history books again.”
Veteran goalkeeper Shay Given, who missed the final league match of the season last weekend, is back in training and could be fit for the final, Sherwood added.
(Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Timothy Collings)