Swansea head coach Steve Cooper promised that his players had “come back down to earth already” after their stunning 4-1 win at 10-man Reading had clinched a place in the Championship play-offs.
The South Wales club edged out Nottingham Forest by a mere plus-one on goal difference after Sabri Lamouchi’s side went down 4-1 to Stoke at the City Ground and now face a two-legged semi-final against Brentford.
Swansea went ahead through a long-range effort from Rhian Brewster in the 17th minute. Reading had winger Yakou Meite sent off for violent conduct before half time but George Puscas levelled from a penalty. Swansea regained the lead through Wayne Routledge in the second period and late goals from Liam Cullen and Routledge secured their top-six spot.
“It was all a bit of a blur at the end,” Cooper said. “But we got over the line.
“We’re calm now and refocused. It’s a pat on the back at the moment but still not a time for congratulations. We’re there already, back down to earth. We’ve still got two or maybe three games to go.”
“Honestly, I don’t have any words,” he said. “I can’t explain what has happened tonight, what has happened in the last five or six games. How it is possible not to secure the play-offs – I can’t explain. Looking back at the game I can’t explain what has happened. For 20 minutes before the end we have lost control.
“I don’t have the words in my mind now, it is just a disaster. It is unacceptable. I am just so sorry for the fans and the Forest community. For them to follow us all season and us to lose it today like this is just unacceptable. It is unacceptable.”
Cardiff’s 3-0 win saw them secure fifth place and drop Hull into the third tier of English football for the first time in 15 years, with Charlton also relegated following a 4-0 thumping by champions Leeds.
Leeds defended their decision to parade their players in an open-top bus at Elland Road after their title trophy presentation. Leeds had already sealed promotion back to the Premier League as champions and their victory sparked more celebrations outside the stadium, with many seeming to ignore social distancing rules.
Nathan Jones was full of pride after his Luton side secured their Championship status with a 3-2 home win over Blackburn. Two first half own goals from the visitors and James Collins’s penalty secured the Hatters a second season in the second tier.
Wigan also face relegation after their 1-1 draw with play-off bound Fulham at the DW Stadium, although their fate will now be decided by an appeal against a 12-point deduction for entering administration.
Jude Bellingham has been tipped to impress on the highest stages after signing off his Birmingham career in tears in their 3-1 defeat to Derby.
The 17-year-old, who has signed a five-year contract with Borussia Dortmund worth £60,000-a-week in a £30m deal, left the St Andrew’s pitch in an emotional state after succumbing to cramp in the 75th minute.
“Jude has a very bright future,” said Blues interim head coach Steve Spooner. “He is beyond his years mentally and speaks with such calmness and assuredness and has such a thoughtful manner.
“So the potential for things to go wrong off the pitch I don’t think will come his way because he is so well rounded and has such a supportive family around him. On the pitch the sky is the limit for him. He can play anywhere – it’s very hard to pin him down in one position.”