Ricardo Vaz Te admitted feeling "blessed" after his late strike sealed West Ham's promotion to the Barclays Premier League as they beat Blackpool 2-1 in the npower Championship play-off final at Wembley.
The game looked to be heading towards injury time after Blackpool's Thomas Ince cancelled out Carlton Cole's opener for West Ham early in the second half, but Vaz Te fired Sam Allardyce's side into the lead in the 87th minute to seal a dramatic win.
Vaz Te told Sky Sports 1: "It's a great effort form the lads. Its not about the goal, we showed great character. I think we deserved it. We're a Premier League side and we deserved to go up. It's terrific really. I feel like I have been blessed with a second chance in my career and it's great to be here."
Vaz Te, who joined West Ham from Barnsley in January after a season at Hibernian that appeared to have ended his attempts to be a top-flight player, also revealed he intends to approach the Premier League full of confidence.
"It is another step, a big challenge. We must get there with the mentality that we're a Premier League side and not there to fight for relegation," he said. "West Ham is a great club."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admitted that the immediate return to the Premier League meant "everything".
"Blackpool were easily as good as us today but it is about taking your chances and no more so that today," he said. "We managed to swing it just at the death. It's 49 games and it's the first one we've won in the last few minutes this season. I'm sure (owners) David Sullivan and David Gold will be very happy.
"It was a magnificent game, end to end and in the end we got one more goal than Blackpool. It's everything to me. It was difficult at the start to turn the club around with the relegation problem we've had but we turned it round and came good at the end.
"I'll look forward to the celebrations first before I start worrying about the Premier League next year. We're just delighted about how much it means at West Ham for the players, the owners, the staff and the 30 or 40,000 fans here."
Hammers captain Kevin Nolan believes the side's young players will light up the Premier League next season. "I'm absolutely delighted," he said. "It's been special. Jack Collison and those boys are going to bless the Premier League."