Vaz Te revels in glorious moment
Ricardo Vaz Te admitted to feeling "blessed" after his late strike sealed West Ham's promotion to the Premier League as they beat Blackpool.
The game looked to be heading towards injury time after Blackpool's Thomas Ince cancelled out Carlton Cole's opener for West Ham early in the second half, but Vaz Te fired Sam Allardyce's side into the lead in the 87th minute to seal a dramatic 2-1 win at Wembley.
And Vaz Te, who joined West Ham from Barnsley in January after a season at Hibernian that appeared to have ended his attempts to be a top-flight player, hailed a superb team effort by the Hammers.
"It's a great effort form the lads," the striker told Sky Sports 1. "Its not about the goal, we showed great character. I think we deserved it.
"We're a Premier League side and we deserved to go up.
"It's terrific really. I feel like I have been blessed with a second chance in my career and it's great to be here."
Vaz Te also revealed he intends to approach the Premier League full of confidence.
"It is another step, a big challenge. We must get there with the mentality that we're a Premier League side and not there to fight for relegation," he said.
"West Ham is a great club."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admitted that the immediate return to the Premier League meant "everything".
"Blackpool were easily as good as us today but it is about taking your chances and no more so that today," he said.
"We managed to swing it just at the death. It's 49 games and it's the first one we've won in the last few minutes this season. I'm sure (owners) David Sullivan and David Gold will be very happy.
"It was a magnificent game, end to end and in the end we got one more goal than Blackpool.
"It's everything to me. It was difficult at the start to turn the club around with the relegation problem we've had but we turned it round and came good at the end.
"I'll look forward to the celebrations first before I start worrying about the Premier League next year.
"We're just delighted about how much it means at West Ham for the players, the owners, the staff and the 30 or 40,000 fans here."
Cole, whose 35th-minute opener set United on their way to promotion, believes his side deserve to be back in the top flight.
"It's more than what we deserve," Cole said. "I thought we could have played better but in the final you have to turn up and put the ball in the back of the net which we did today. It's the best feeling in the world.
"We were the favourites to win the league at the start of the season and with that burden Sam's done brilliantly. We had to deal with the pressure and we did that today.
"To get back at the first time of asking is more than enough."
Hammers captain Kevin Nolan believes the side's young players will light up the Premier League next season.
"I'm absolutely delighted," he said. "It's been special. Jack Collison and those boys are going to bless the Premier League.
"We were favourites from day one. We said we wanted to win the league and go up automatically. This was plan B. Thankfully we did it and I think we deserved it.
"It was a lot of relief more than anything. It's been a tough day today. Blackpool didn't make it easy."
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway was left to rue missed chances after his side fell at the final hurdle.
Stephen Dobbie's shot was kept out by a combination of West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green and the near post before Matt Phillips twice squandered glorious opportunities to put the Seasiders ahead.
"It looked as though there was a foul but at the end of the day they've scored on 88 minutes," Holloway said.
"Sometimes in life it goes against you and it did that time but you have to congratulate your opponents.
"I thought my lot gave a great account of themselves today, we created more than enough chances to win the game.
"We lost Fletch (Gary Taylor-Fletcher) as well, he might have fancied sticking one of them away."
Holloway admitted it would be tough getting ready for another season in the Championship after coming so close to returning to the Premier League.
He said: "We've got to get over playing in the Championship again because we were all hoping we would be in the top flight.
"They've just lost a great big bonus and I feel for them because they deserve more.
"We've got to get on and bounce ourselves straight back, it's about building now.
"But they should be very proud of their efforts, this is a fantastic group of people and I'm proud to be a small part of it."