Richard Keogh described Derby County’s Play-Off Semi-Final victory over Leeds United at Elland Road was a 'magic moment' and he is proud of everyone at the club .
The Rams’ captain praised an 'absolutely brilliant' performance to defeat Leeds 4-2 at Elland Road to win 4-3 on aggregate.
Derby will now face Aston Villa at Wembley on Monday 27th May (kick-off 3pm) to battle for the final promotion spot to the Premier League.
In Frank Lampard’s first campaign in charge and with a squad that had changed significantly from the season before, the centre-back felt the character of the dressing room, that has been tested throughout the season, was once again second-to-none.
“These guys have been amazing all season, it has been a great journey with everyone,” Keogh said after the game.
“What a great team we have, a great group of lads.
“We have really grown as the season has gone on and to come to a place like this and play how we did in and to win such a pressure situation, to give ourselves an opportunity to get into the Premier League is amazing. I am proud, I am proud of everyone at the football club.”
The Rams made history on Wednesday night as the first of 17 teams that had lost the first-leg at home to go on to win a Semi-Final on the road and reach the Final.
Keogh says despite the tough ask, especially after falling behind in the game, the team always believed.
Jack Marriott opened the scoring for the Rams and sealed their trip to Wembley in the final minutes after Keogh set him up.
A brilliant weaving run by the defender also led to the second goal by Mason Mount while Harry Wilson also converted from the penalty spot.
“What a game,” Keogh said. “We knew coming in to it we were going to have to go through it.
“I thought we played great, second-half we were brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I thought we were the better team and to come here and score four goals speaks for itself.”
He added: “Goals change games and I think the nature of Jack’s goal unsettled them and gave us confidence. We felt like we were getting on top of the game and we went in at half-time and we smelt it. We smelt it, we smelt that we could do it.
“The gaffer spoke about it, as a team we spoke about it. We just said that this is the night, and these are the nights you want as a football player.
“To come to a stadium like this, full like this. I think everyone had written us off, everyone thought we weren’t going to do it. This is what football is all about, these are the magic moments you want.”
The Rams now have a week and a half to prepare for Final against Villa.
After a slow start to the season, Dean Smith’s side went on a ten-game winning run to burst into the play-off places and defeated West Bromwich Albion on penalties to seal their trip to Wembley.
Keogh added: “We have one more game at Wembley against a great team, Villa, and what an occasion.
“What a run they have been on as well, they are going to be a great team. Anything can happen in football and it was our night tonight and we earned it. The Play-off Final is what it is about.”