Steve Cooper expressed his pride as Swansea reached the Sky Bet Championship final and insisted the club’s “unique” journey was not over.
Swansea booked a Wembley date with Brentford next Saturday after a 1-1 home draw against Barnsley secured a 2-1 semi-final aggregate win.
“Of course I’m proud,” head coach Cooper said as 3,000 Swansea fans celebrated their return to the Liberty Stadium after the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
“You’ve seen the journey of this football club, not just the two years I’ve been here.
“It’s a unique one and this is another chapter. But it’s not finished, we’ve got another one next week.
“It was a privilege to be in the stadium with the fans having been away and getting to Wembley.
“It’ll be a night to remember but I also know my biggest emotion is getting ready for next Saturday.
“As soon as I get home, the laptop will be on and I’ll be looking at the opposition.”
Skipper Matt Grimes fired Swansea ahead on the night just before the break to double their lead from the first leg.
Cooper’s side then had to withstand late Tykes pressure after Cauley Woodrow equalised 19 minutes from time.
The one minus point for Swansea was the loss of Wayne Routledge, who was carried off the pitch on a stretcher in the second half after sustaining a knee injury.
Routledge has made over 300 appearances in 10 years at Swansea, but the 36-year-old forward might now have played his last game for the club.
Steve Cooper paid an emotional tribute to @WayneRoutledge after he suffered an injury against Barnsley that looks likely to keep him out of the play-off final.— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) May 22, 2021
Cooper said: “I have massive respect for the guy. He was the biggest talking point in the dressing room when I spoke to the players after the game.
“It looks like he is going to be injured for next week but I have been lucky to have him.
“I have just said in front of the group that I will forever be indebted to him because the support he has given me over the last two years has been incredible.”
Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael praised Swansea and felt the better side had won over the two legs.
Hold your heads high.— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) May 22, 2021
Ismael said: “They deserve to be in the final when you see the two games.
“In the first game they scored with their first shot on target, and in the second game they scored with their only shot. They were really clinical.
“We did our job, we scored a goal away and we can be proud of our performance. We showed why we are in the play-offs.
“They gave everything but Swansea’s quality made the difference.”
Ismael was only appointed in October and has transformed Barnsley’s fortunes after their 21st-placed finish last season.
“We have to reflect on our outstanding season and the journey we have made,” Ismael said, brushing off questions about the future of several of his players as well as his own.
“I gave everything, but now is the moment to reflect on the season and be with the family.”
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