Belief in Norwich City’s promotion prospects never faded for Steven Whittaker

Steven Whittaker of Norwich and Lee Tomlin of Middlesbrough in action during the Sky Bet Championshi

Steven Whittaker of Norwich and Lee Tomlin of Middlesbrough in action during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Returning to the Premier League has not been easy for Norwich City but full-back Steven Whittaker never stopped believing that promotion was achievable this season.

Steven Whittaker of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final at Wembley Stad

Steven Whittaker of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Scotland international teed up his right-side partner Nathan Redmond for the second goal which gave City a degree of comfort against Boro and ultimately ensured victory in the play-off final.

'We set out at the start to be in the Premier League and we're there, it's gone to plan and we can all enjoy it,' Whittaker said.

'At the start of the season we believed we could get back to the Premier League and albeit it's been a long journey, with the change in manager, but we've done it.'

The link-up with Redmond was the latest in a series of big improvements in the 30-year-old's understanding with his younger wideman, as both finished the campaign on a high.

'Since Alex (Neil) has come in, the way we set up, the way we play, kind of suits me and the team as a unit, we're a lot steadier, a lot sturdier, we're not conceding too many goals and it's worked out, so all's gone to plan,' the former Rangers man said.

Of the goal, the Scot continued: 'We worked it really well. We'd worked on getting down the side of Middlesbrough because they had the two holding midfielders and it's pretty hard to go through the middle so we worked in switching the play quickly and I managed to get the ball wide with a nice pass and he took a nice touch and then a nice finish.'

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Whittaker made sure to soak up the atmosphere after the match and said it was one of the best days of his career, adding: 'The difference in the game was what was at stake, I've played in big cup finals, big games, but never one which would define your next season so it was definitely different from that aspect and one that I thought everyone thrived on and enjoyed.'

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