KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Tim Sherwood paid tribute to Aston Villa’s fans after the 2-1 victory over favourites Liverpool in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembey.

Sherwood, brought in earlier this year in place of Paul Lambert to lead the fight against relegation, was thrilled with the efforts of the entire Villa ‘family’ on the road to a final against Arsenal on May 30.

He said: “It’s a great occasion for the club. Not many people gave us a chance coming here against Liverpool and when we stepped on the pitch we realised our fans believed it. They dragged us back into the game after we went a goal down and I thought we dominated after that and caused Liverpool a lot of problems.

“It’s easy to support your team when you’re winning and we’ll need them between now and the end of the season. They’re very mportant to us.

“Arsenal will be favourites because they are coming back as holders. They’re the best footballing side in the league and can make this pitch look very big but we think we can cause them problems. For now it’s important we get some points to secure our Premier League status.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers did not hide his disappointment behind the excuse of assistanht John Brook’s late mistake which denied Mario Balotelli what should have been an equaliser at 2-2.

Liverpool disappointment

Rodgers said: “We’re bitterly disappointed. We were second best. Villa were better than us. Now there’s an obligation on us to fight to the very end of the season. We’ve come close in two competitions and failed to make the last step so hopefully we can learn from that, we have to fight in every game.

“The start of the season was not so good then we picked up and played very well in some games and then we’ve had a block of games where our performance level hasn’t been what we liked.

“We’ve reached two semi-finals and we need the courage to play better in the big games. Techncally we weren’t quite on it. We looked as if the occasion got to us.

“Our energy was low. Villa had a good start and we didn’t keep the lead long enough. Then we didn’t create enough. We were too passive both in attack and in defence.”