x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Wembley has always been kind to me, says Bolton's Coyle

Lee Chung-yong scored a dramatic last-minute winner against Birmingham City to secure Bolton Wanderers an FA Cup semi-final berth.

Lee Chung-yong, right, heads in the deciding goal at the death for Bolton. The victory means an FA Cup semi-final trip to Wembley Stadium awaits Owen Coyle's side. Jamie McDonald / Getty Images
Lee Chung-yong, right, heads in the deciding goal at the death for Bolton. The victory means an FA Cup semi-final trip to Wembley Stadium awaits Owen Coyle's side. Jamie McDonald / Getty Images

BIRMINGHAM // Owen Coyle set his sights on taking Bolton Wanderers to the FA Cup final - and maintaining his fine record at Wembley Stadium - after a late goal from Lee Chung-yong earned a 3-2 quarter-final win at Birmingham City yesterday.

Lee came off the bench to head the winner a minute from time after goals from Johan Elmander and Kevin Davies had been cancelled out by Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips.

The semi-final will also be played at Wembley. It will mark Bolton's first last-four appearance in the competition for 11 years, but Coyle said he is is aiming higher.

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"We are into the semi-final of the best domestic competition in world football," he said.

"It is a terrific achievement." He said that Jussi Jaaskelainen, Bolton's goalkeeper from Finland, told him before kick-off: "Gaffer, I've waited 12 years to get to this, gaffer, Wembley in the FA Cup."

Added Coyle: "It is nice when you have players of that calibre really cherishing those occasions. But what you want now is to progress to the final.

"Whatever the draw, we will be ready to go and try and win that game when it comes about."

Coyle has fond memories of previous matches at the spiritual home of English football.

"Wembley has always been kind to me," he said. "I managed to score there as a player when Bolton got promoted to the Premier League.

"As a manager, I led Burnley into the Premier League. Let's hope Wembley is kind again."

The Scot praised the way his players overcome the disappointment of twice surrendering the lead.

"I felt we deserved to win. Birmingham have won the Carling Cup and you don't win that by accident," he said.

"You win it because you have quality and tremendous spirit and you've seen that from them again.

"But I know what I have in my group. I know the quality of player but equally I know the attitude they have.

"They picked themselves up twice from losing the lead. I said to the players, 'Don't let the opportunity pass you by,' and they responded excellently."

Birmingham were hit by injuries to seven first-team regulars and, in addition, Barry Ferguson, the midfielder (leg) and Martin Jiranek (foot), the defender, limped off during the first half of the game.

Their manager, Alex McLeish, took heart from the performance even though he admitted his side were guilty of poor defending for the goals.

"Our lads, despite the problems we had with injuries, put in a magnificent effort," he said.

"You couldn't ask for more in terms of commitment and effort. But we were a bit sloppy with the goals.

"When your back four changes, they may not gel straight away and it was evident with the first and third goals.

"But overall the performance of the team was a plus."