Wembley. Manager's reaction

Last updated : 15 April 2008 By Michael Morris

The Coca-Cola Championship side earned their place in next month's FA Cup final against Portsmouth when they beat Barnsley 1-0 at Wembley with a spectacular volley from midfielder Joe Ledley.

In normal circumstances the cup winners qualify for the UEFA Cup but with Portsmouth likely to claim a place in Europe this season through their Premier League position, there would be an extra European place up for grabs.

The problem arises because as a Welsh club Cardiff are not affiliated to the English FA, although UEFA president Michel Platini has already expressed his support for Cardiff if they win the cup.

But Jones, whose side still have an outside chance of reaching the Coca-Cola championship play-offs, said: "We have to be nominated by the Welsh FA and they are not going to do that.

"The English FA aren't going to do it. I don't know what Cardiff holds, two and a half or three million but I'm sure they'll be banging on someone's door.

"Platini has come out and said if it does happen we deserve to be there. It throws open the door now.

"Politically it's a minefield because with us getting to this final now there is no way they should stop us if we win it. If they stop us getting into Europe there will be all hell to play and I'll be first in the queue."

Jones played in an FA Cup semi-final for Everton in 1971 and reached the League Cup final in 1977, but taking Cardiff to the FA Cup final for the first time for 81 years eclipses all that.

He said: "I've been in finals and play-offs but I've never been in an FA Cup final. This now ranks with everything I've achieved. It's special. With our financial problems it's great credit to our players for achieving it."

Cardiff, £24million in debt, only recently staved off the threat of administration and reaching the final means at least £1million can be wiped of that figure.

It also puts players such as goalscorer Ledley, who has already attracted the interest of Premier league clubs, in the shop window.

Jones said: "For Joe Ledley and all the Welsh boys it is a great day. It was a special goal. It would have graced any final. It will stay with him for the rest of his life."

The Cardiff boss also had to thank Barnsley's Kayode Adejayi for a glaring miss in the 66th minute when he rippled the side-netting after being put clean through with only goalkeeper Peter Enckleman to beat.

Jones said: "I was just hoping he did what he did. If anybody had been close to him I'd have been screaming for them to bring him down. But you need that bit of luck. It was always a tough game for us."

For Barnsley boss Simon Davey, a proud Welshman, it was something of a bitter-sweet day.

He said: "It is difficult to take after coming past Liverpool and Chelsea. The occasion was always going to be difficult but the Cardiff keeper was probably the busier of the two."

He refused to blame Odejayi for his miss, saying: "He will come back from that. He's missed the chance but he's still improving as a player.

"All the lads are disappointed. They've come to Wembley, we've lost and it's not nice. Hopefully, we'll be back again."

Barnsley have no time to feel sorry for themselves, however, having a relegation fight on their hands.

Davey said: "Whatever happened today when we came out of this dressing room we had six massive games.

"The focus now is on the league. We've got six cup finals ahead of us, starting with a massive game at Watford on Wednesday and then Preston on Saturday.

"But all credit to our boys, they've been soldiers out there today."