Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers hailed his side after they earned their place in the English Premier League with a 4-2 win over Reading.
The Welsh outfit led 3-0 at half-time in the Champion playoff final at Wembley, courtesy of a Scott Sinclair brace and a Stephen Dobbie half-volley, before Reading provided a spirited comeback to cut the deficit to 3-2, and nearly levelled after Jem Karacan’s strike hit the woodwork.
But Rodgers saw his side earn Premiership promotion when Sinclair completed his hat-trick with a late penalty, and while the City manager said his side could have played better, he was full of praise for their efforts to win football’s richest game.
“It was a fantastic game. I don’t think we played as well as we did for most of the season. But on the moments when we did show our quality we were very, very good,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers took the positive out of his side’s inability to keep a clean sheet, stating that Reading’s two second-half goals helped Swansea reset and regain composure.
“Conceding two goals helped us refocus and get a bit of control,” Rodgers said.
“These players deserve to be in the Premier League, they showed great courage. It’s fantastic. The supporters today were incredible and it’s nice to repay their faith and get promotion.”
“Ourselves, (runners-up) Norwich and (champions) QPR will be a credit to the Championship and will try to do well.”
“We show courage and try to pass the ball but the important thing today was to try to win the game.”
It is Swansea’s first visit to the English top flight in 28 years, and it comes eight years after they were on the brink of demotion to League One on the final day of the Championship.
Conversely, Reading manager Brian McDermott was devastated in defeat.
“This is the worst feeling I have ever felt in football. I can’t remember a worse feeling than this,’ he said.
“Wembley is not a place to lose but it gives you a feeling of wanting to come back and put it right next time. And that is the only thing you can do.”
“I can’t fault our players, what I didn’t want was the first half to be seen by the whole world, us having not produced what we’re capable of. We did that after the break, we were the better side in the second half.”
“We started off OK, they got a goal and for them to go in 3-0 up at half time, it was a real blow. Even at 3-0 I felt we had a chance if we could get the next goal, which we did.”
“We got the second and then we were inches away from a third. I thought Swansea had gone at that point to be honest.”