Brentford goalkeeper David Raya expressed his delight after helping the Bees earn promotion to the Premier League in Saturday's Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final.
Raya kept a clean sheet as the West Londonders beat 10-man Swansea City 2-0 at Wembley Stadium, courtesy of first-half goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes.
Speaking exclusively to the EFL after the game, Raya said it was the best possible way to achieve promotion, having lost out at the same stage last season.
“I’m over the moon and very happy for everyone, especially the fans who came today, because they deserved that," he said. "We can relax now, enjoy the summer and go again in the Premier League. I’m just so happy, and the fans deserve this more than us.
“Last year, the fans weren’t here and we lost in extra-time against Fulham - it was hard to take. To go up this way this season is special. I think it shows the character of the staff and players and that’s what we want going into next season and beyond.
“We’re a group of players but we’re a big family. We showed that today and we’ve shown it through the season and through the ups and downs. We could have gone up automatically and it wasn’t to be, but you can’t beat this, winning at Wembley in the Final."
Raya and Brentford will now test themselves in the Premier League in 2021/22, with this promotion their first to the top flight since 1946/47.
“You dream to play against the best players when you’re a little boy and to play in the Premier League is going to be amazing," he added. "It’s going to be a big test and we’ll have to work hard, but we’ll be ready to test ourselves and want to give it a right good go.
“It hasn’t sunk in, not yet. Let’s enjoy tonight, let’s enjoy tomorrow and let’s enjoy Monday. We’re looking forward to the challenge but know we can play good football and we have to be ready.
The Bees number one says the achievement caps off his own personal journey, following a significant facial injury suffered while playing for his former club Blackburn Rovers against West Bromwich Albion in 2018.
“That was three or four years ago and I think I’ve come a long way since then," he said. "I’ve matured and I have to thank Blackburn for making me the man and player I am today. Brentford have been amazing for me since the day I came in two years ago."