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‘What a way to go up!’ Southampton return to the Premier League with play-off final win over Leeds

Southampton have sealed an instant return to the Premier League after beating Leeds United in the Championship Play-Off final at Wembley on Saturday. 

Adam Armstrong scored the decisive goal in the 24th minute, placing the ball into the side netting after being played through by Will Smallbone.

“I don’t know what to say,” the striker told Sky Sports. “It’s what we’ve been working for all year, we know how good the Championship has been this year.

Read – Why the play-offs might be the best thing in football

“What a way to go up! I saw the space in behind [for the goal] and I knew if I put it across goal it was going to go in, so it was a nice one.

“It means everything. The gaffer and his staff came in in pre-season and put a marker down of what they wanted to see, and look at this.

“This is why we’re footballers, we want to be involved in the biggest games, what a way to win.”

Saints captain Jack Stephens said the victory gave him the “best feeling” of his career as they prepare to play in the English top flight next season.

“I’m so proud to be captain of this club. I’m so proud of the boys today, I think they’ve been unbelievable.

“I think we probably didn’t play our best game today but we showed a different side.

“A few people have doubted us over this season. Can we defend? Can we dig in? I think we really showed that today.

“The feeling I’ve got now is the best feeling I’ve ever had in football. Honestly, I’m just so emotional.”

Southampton finished bottom of the Premier League in 2023/24, six points behind Leeds, but bounced this season to finish fourth in the Championship and earn a spot in the play-offs.

Read – Five of the greatest Championship play-off moments

See Also – Our FA Cup 2023/24 awards as Man Utd triumph

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