Sunderland 'the better team' says Alex Neil, as they book Wembley date with Wycombe

Sunderland 90 minutes from a return to Championship after last-gasp play-off semi-final win.

Alex Neil said his Sunderland side "deserved" their place at Wembley after they beat Sheffield Wednesday in the League One play-offs semi-final.

Sunderland headed to Hillsborough a goal up after the first leg, and they completed the job with Patrick Roberts' injury-time equaliser cancelling out an earlier Lee Gregory goal.

The goal handed Sunderland a 2-1 win on aggregate and books them a spot at Wembley against Wycombe with the winner earning promotion to the Championship.

"I'm just over the moon for the players because they deserve it," said Neil.

"We've done the business with an unbelievable run of fixtures in terms of the results we've put together and all these players deserve a huge amount of credit.

"I thought it was no more than we deserved. I thought we switched off once in the game and we got punished for it.

"Other than that, I thought we defended extremely well, but we didn't set out to be defensive.

"I thought we were the better team and we didn't deserve to be trailing.

"That's probably the first time that I've not made early changes and the reason I didn't make them is that I had so much belief in that team to win this game or get the result we needed. I'm really pleased that I stuck to my guns.

"The minute Jack got in behind, I thought 'we're in business here' and then Patrick's movement and the quality of his finish is great."

It was an unusually large occasion for League One with nearly 80,000 fans attending the tie's two games - a record for any play-off tie at any level of English football.

Sunderland will now head to Wembley attempting to end their play-off hoodoo, with them losing in all six of their previous attempts.

The result brings an end to Sheffield Wednesday's season and, remarkably, it was Patrick Roberts' goal for Derby that relegated them to League One last year too.

"My concern for me is for my players because they're gutted in there," boss Darren Moore said.

Patrick Roberts scores for Sunderland against Sheffield Wednesday

"I'm really disappointed for them because they put a lot into the game and having got back into the game, it looked like we were on to go on and force a winner.

"When I look back at the two games, it's two lapses of concentration which cost us and that's football.

"The players are really disappointed because they've been a spirited group all season and they've carried a lot of hope all season.

"Right now, I said to them, 'My words probably won't penetrate at the moment because obviously there's so much disappointment, so the best thing you can do is get home with your loved ones'.

"I'll give them a couple of days and then I'll see them when it's sunk in and we can have a proper chat. It's the end of a journey."

READ MORE: Finding a way to lose: Why Sunderland are the undisputed kings of play-offs heartbreak

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