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AC Milan
By ESPN Staff

Distin wary of underdog threat in Cup final

Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin is firmly on his guard against an upset against FA Cup final opponents Cardiff having played his part in a similar one earlier in his career.

Back in 2000 Distin was part of Ligue 2 side Gueugnon who claimed a shock 2-0 victory over Paris St Germain in the French League Cup final.

And the 30-year-old centre-back, who has not won a major honour despite seven years in English football with Newcastle and Manchester City before his free transfer move to Pompey, has warned his team-mates they must improve dramatically on their poor end-of-season run.

'It was a bit like Cardiff against Portsmouth - or maybe Cardiff v Manchester United,' he said.

'So I have to hope that Cardiff won't have the same spirit Gueugnon had then - yet I know they will.

'It is an opportunity for them to prove everybody wrong because everybody thinks we are going to win.

'And obviously if we lose everybody apart from us will be happy because they believe that it is good for football if a small side wins.

'For me they are not a small side and it's going to be a tough game until the last second.

'But we've got to perform, not like the last month in the league. If we carry on like that on Saturday it will make it even harder than it is going to be.

'We need a good reaction but the way we've been playing has had nothing to do with thinking about Cardiff or Wembley too much. We just haven't performed.'

Distin also admitted the run to the final has justified his decision to move to Fratton Park despite interest from other clubs.

He continued: 'When I signed here some people didn't say too much, but I could see in their eyes: 'Why Portsmouth?' They have the answer today.

'I played for Newcastle and I didn't win anything, I played for Manchester City and I didn't win anything either.

'At Portsmouth I'm going to play in a final for the first time in my career in England and so for me that's the most important thing.

'We are the big club now. When people talk about big clubs, they are usually talking about past history, but for me a big club is where the club is right now, not 20 years ago.'

Distin recalled the celebrations that followed that cup win in France and will be keen to savour the moment if they defeat Cardiff.

'They were too short - everybody went on holiday the next day and then it was back to normal,' he added.

'I hope that if we can win on Saturday it will be a big celebration, one that lasts and one we can really enjoy. I know I will.'