Willy Caballero shed tears of joy as he made history with Manchester City at Wembley – and then put it down to intuition.
Hero keeper Caballero saved three times in the shoot-out to earn Manuel Pellegrini a third trophy in as many seasons as City boss. He denied Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana as City became the first team ever to win a final against Liverpool on penalties.
The Merseysiders had fought back through Philippe Coutinho after Fernandinho’s opener but lost a shoot-out for the first time in SIX different finals. Caballero, a £6m signing from Malaga in July 2014, said: “It’s fantastic for all the blue people! It’s a huge moment for me and my family. It is a first trophy for me (with City).
“It’s amazing to win this cup, amazing. I tried to see all the penalties last night but my intuition got me through.”
Caballero played in every round for City and Manuel Pellegrini gave the Argentine his word he would start ahead of Joe Hart in the final.
Pellegrini said: “I’m very happy for Willy. He deserves his moment. I’m happy for Joe Hart as well because he demonstrates today he is a good person.
“About my decision, I prefer to lose the trophy than lose my word, because I told him he would play. I was pleased to win the trophy for the players, fans, the staff – but for Willy too.
“Maybe for you, your word is not important. Maybe for you it’s only important to win things, for me, my word is more important.
“He waited until the end and never tried to guess, that’s why he saved three penalties. I think we deserved to win but if you can’t, I prefer to win this way with Willy as the hero.”
Pellegrini, who will make way for Pep Guardiola this summer, added: “I’m very happy, not because it’s my final season but because of the team.”
He said: “It was a difficult decision not to continue in the FA Cup but it was difficult to keep the players fresh. I think the last two were good victories.”
City skipper Vincent Kompany said: “There was so much emotion in this final. There were so many missed chances. I am just so happy for the club and so proud. We left everything out on the pitch.”
Fernandinho said: “The team worked very hard and deserved victory. Caballero – amazing today. He was so fast and waited to the last second to go for the ball and did it very well.
“I hope we can win more trophies. Now it is time to think about the next Premier League game and then it is the Champions League.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: “You need a little bit of luck in penalty shoot-outs. You need to shoot better too. It was not too difficult for the goalkeeper.
“I’m sorry for this. We scored a goal. We could have scored another one. My overriding emotion is disappointment, everything was perfect until the last shot of the shoot-out.”