Tim Cahill saluted Everton's team spirit as David Moyes' side defeated Manchester United on penalties to reach the FA Cup final. Australia midfielder Cahill missed Everton's first penalty to give them the worst possible start to the semi-final shoot-out at Wembley.
But Tim Howard, Everton's former United keeper, saved from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand before Phil Jagielka buried the decisive kick to send Everton through to play Chelsea in the final. Cahill was just relieved that his team-mates held their nerve to bail him out for the penalty miss.
"It's the best feeling in the world. I suppose the fans have been waiting for this forever. I'm just overwhelmed really," Cahill said. "It is a reward for the fans and players. I'm just gutted I didn't score. But that's why we are a team because the boys got me out of it.
"I wanted the ball to go in the back of the net as soon as possible and just skied it. It happens. If I get another one in the final I will probably have another go," Cahill said. " Tim [Howard] has been amazing. He has been saving everyone's penalties in training."
Everton captain Phil Neville insisted Moyes deserved credit for giving his team the belief they could beat United. Former United star Neville scored during the shoot-out and he immediately paid tribute to Moyes' motivational abilities.
"When you get to cup finals, I think it is a reward for a lot of people. But the boss has stepped up to the mark," Neville said. "He wanted us to go out there and express ourselves. He gave us that confidence. Now we need to go and win the cup final."
Everton's clash with Chelsea on 30 May will be their first Cup final since 1995 and Neville, whose brother Gary is still a United squad member, admitted he can not wait to lead the team out at Wembley.
"It's one of the proudest moments of my career, to lead the team out at Wembley in the FA Cup final," he said. "They say your next achievement is the best and that is certainly how it feels. We've done it the hard way. We've beaten the best side in the world."