Leon Balogun has addressed the win over Hearts, the impact of James Tavernier and the influence of Philippe Clement. Here is everything he had to say.

How does it feel to be through to the final?

It is very nice. It is not like I haven’t been there before but obviously you have to get the job done. Hearts were never going to make it easy for us but once we broke the deadlock I think we looked pretty dominant in the way we played, all game through. I am very, very happy.

Sum up James Tavernier’s contribution?

Some things never change. It is just Tav doing Tav things. We are very happy to have him. He steps up in the right moments. Against Hearts last week he missed a penalty and it takes a lot of balls to step up again. He has done it for us. [On Sunday] he scored two very important goals, one beautiful free-kick. What can I say? Captain fantastic.

How important is it to have a trophy to aim for so early in a new managerial reign?

We all come to this club to play for trophies, that is what this club is all about. This trophy in particular, everyone has been longing for and everyone is really happy that we are one step away from it now. But again we need to put in the work first and it is not a thing that just falls into your lap. We need to put in the work. It was hard [on Sunday], it was tough, but we have done it and everybody is happy at the end to reap the rewards.

The squad look rejuvenated and has had a lift from the manager?

I think it is an effect you see from most teams normally if they have a new manager, mainly because everybody says ‘it is a clean slate, I need to impress’. Some players want to get their chance, some players want to keep their place. On top it comes with what the manager brings. He is very clear in his ideas and his demands and he is clear in letting us know that we better live up to it. It is not that he is super, super strict but he sets a certain level of expectation that everyone lives up to at the moment and I think that is what you can see on the pitch.

Everyone is desperate to impress him?

I don’t know if it is desperate but certainly keen on it because you want to keep your shirt and you want to play. I think he is doing a good job so far.

You went down injured in the first half?

I was a bit sore but nothing that a painkiller cannot resolve. I still have them in my system but let’s see how I feel when I lay down on my sofa.

How important is it to continue the momentum?

It is vital for Thursday first and foremost and then Sunday. We are chasing at the moment and we want to turn it around. I think it is quite clear what we are trying to achieve this season. The manager has said himself that he wants to win everything possible and that is the target. You are only as good as your last game and we need to knock one game out after another and make sure that the performances are at the right level. Obviously [Sunday] and Wednesday were a good boost and that should boost the confidence for Thursday because it is going to be a tough game.

What do you expect from Sparta Prague?

It is going to be pretty similar I think to the last game. We just need to have a fast start. Again, the confidence we have built, the momentum from the last two games should help. Second half we were a lot better in the last game against Sparta away. They are coming to Ibrox, which is always a different place, and if we continue to start games like that the fans will be behind us quickly and then it is quite intimidating for every team that comes.