A jubilant Thomas Frank paid tribute to his “fantastic” Brentford players after they clinched promotion to the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Swansea City in the Championship play-off final.
A penalty by Ivan Toney, followed by a fine strike by man of the match Emiliano Marcondes 10 minutes later, was sufficient to seal success at Wembley and earn the Bees a place in the top tier.
Brentford held the unenviable Football League play-off record of taking part nine times without winning promotion, ahead of their 57th match of 2020-21.
However, once Toney grabbed his 33rd goal of the campaign, there was little doubt about the ultimate outcome in what was a controlled performance.
“At the final whistle there was tears in my eyes as this news is so big,” admitted the Brentford head coach.
“I think we were so close last year in the final and it was so devastating. Ten days holiday and back into it with Covid, a very condensed season and going 21 games unbeaten. And then going into the final against Swansea where anything could happen.
“The one aim today was to go to the Premier League with Brentford. I wanted it so much with this group of fantastic players.
“I just sensed this week; Thursday, Friday, that we were calm and relaxed and ready to be ruthless. I said that to the players. I had a feeling in my stomach and it felt perfect. We were great with a good attitude and a cool head.
“It’s easy to say after we won but the experience of being here before was massive. I was sad last year as we didn’t play our best game.”
Frank will soon look to the future – but he remains grounded. The Bees will now earn approximately £178m for their efforts.
“Of course it is up to us to continue that journey next year but I want to get drunk tonight and think about that after,” the Dane laughed. “I think I will be home very late!
“I’m so pleased, humble and proud to be part of this journey. There are a lot of dedicated people at this club within the staff. The club has progressed year after year after the setback last year. We must now be an example.
“It was unlucky for us in many ways not to get automatic promotion. But it is a fantastic team.
“All kinds of thoughts go through your head. We were ready, worked hard throughout the game and kept control of the game.”
Promotion now ensures that it may be easier for Brentford to agree new contracts for key men such as Marcondes.
“Emiliano deserves a lot of praise,” added Frank. “He’s been remarkable and coming back from injuries and I was never in doubt that I wanted to play him in the final.
“He can turn up in these games and he has a fantastic mindset. I’ve known him since he was 15 in Denmark. I admire him a lot.
“The journey the club has been on has been absolutely remarkable, especially after the work of (owner) Matthew Benham. It’s an unbelievable achievement for us.
“It is an unbelievable feeling – to be a part of something this special I am really humble about it, but all the players and staff played a part.
“You can’t do it alone and this is one of the biggest strengths at Brentford. I have really walked the hard way in coaching since I was 20 and I hope I can inspire others out there to be better coaches and people.”