Gus Poyet has insisted keeping Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League is the biggest achievement of his career.
The 46-year-old Uruguayan was handed the task of sparing the Black Cats from the drop in October, at which point they had collected just a solitary point from their opening seven games.
But on Wednesday evening, they ensured they will play in the top flight once again next season with a 2-0 victory over West Brom which took them to 38 points after a remarkable fourth successive win.
Poyet said: “It’s the biggest achievement of my life, for sure. Today is one of the happiest days of my life as well.
“I always think about other people. I think about today the fans from this city, how important it is for them to have a team in the Barclays Premier League - we have got it, at least for another year – how important for the staff, how important for everybody really, how important for the chairman to be able to plan for the future knowing that we are going to be in the Barclays Premier League.
“I am delighted for the players. It’s been difficult, I can tell you, it’s been very, very difficult.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen again, but I believe in miracles now.”
Sunderland went into the game knowing a point would effectively be enough to save them because of their superior goal difference over Norwich, who will drop into the Football League barring a frankly unlikely series of events on Sunday.
They had it won by half-time as first Jack Colback and then Fabio Borini struck after 13 and 31 minutes respectively, and they never looked back.
Loan signing Borini will return to parent club Liverpool after the weekend, while Colback is one of several men out of contract and with whom Poyet intends to sit down over the next few days.
Asked what the immediate future holds, the head coach said: “To sit down and talk to the players who are without contracts, who have been incredible, be able to talk to them and tell them the good or the bad news; plan pre-season games, confirm trips, where we are going to go, what we are going to do; start watching players – I haven’t watched any, no-one.
“A little bit of work, yes, but I am going to have an incredible week next week with my lovely wife somewhere. And I hope not to see any one of you. You know what I mean.”
While Poyet was in understandably celebratory mood, opposite number Pepe Mel cut a sombre figure as he assessed his side’s tame surrender and turned his attention to the final day clash with Stoke.
He said: “I really am extremely disappointed, and particularly so for the people who have come here to support us.
“This is why Sunday really is the biggest test, so we can all go away home happy.
“We need to win the game so that people go away happy, and that the final image that we give of West Brom is the best possible.”