Slaven Bilic beamed with joy after West Brom returned to the Premier League via the automatic route, stating: “It’s at the top (of his achievements).”
The Baggies survived final-night nerves as they drew 2-2 with QPR and nearest challengers Brentford lost 2-1 to Barnsley.
It meant Albion, who lost in last season’s play-off semi-finals, were promoted from the Sky Bet Championship by two points – 10 points behind champions Leeds – and ended their two-year top-flight exile.
Callum Robinson had put the hosts 2-1 up only for Ebere Eze to deny them victory. Ryan Mannings opened the scoring for Rangers with Grady Diangana levelling.
Bilic took Croatia to two European Championships and insisted reaching the Premier League in his first season at the Baggies was a similar feeling.
He said: “It’s at the top (of his achievements). You don’t know how exhausting it was this season. You can’t imagine how proud and happy I am.
“I managed my country (Croatia) for six years and I said no matter which club I manage nothing will compare when you are manager of your national team. I can’t say it’s the same but I feel as proud as I felt then.
“We’ve got work to do but I haven’t thought about it because of this crazy situation. We did a bit of work during the lockdown. Now, not today, not tomorrow or the day after and we’ll see next week.
“What a season – what a league. I know you asked me that and I was very vocal when I said I would always like to manage in the Championship because it’s especially difficult.
“It’s exhausting, it’s demanding, I didn’t enjoy every minute of it, of course, but with a finish like this, the results at the bottom, the Forest situation, it’s unbelievable.
“I thought Brentford would have pressure in today’s game. That shows you how difficult today it is to win a game, Brentford are a beautiful team with a top manager and I love the way they play.
“It’s not easy that’s why I’m very proud of the boys.”