DEFENDER Jan Bedanarek dubbed Southampton's promotion to the Premier League a "beautiful moment."

The Polish defender has reflected on his successful campaign for Saints, which ended with him lifting the Championship playoff trophy last month.

Bednarek was a key man in Russell Martin's promotion-winning side, playing 45 of their 49 Championship fixtures.

He delivered a strong performance in the final as Saints kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Leeds United.

The 28 year old admitted that the season has been "intense" but is glad it ended with the players celebrating at Wembley.

He told Polish media: "It was a very successful season for us as a team. Of course, it was also intense, a huge number of matches.

"A lot happened, there were ups and downs, because we went through difficult moments, but it ended happily.

"(It was) a great time for me as a Southampton player, to introduce the team back to the Premier League.

Jan Bednarek celebrates with his Southampton teammates at St Mary'sJan Bednarek celebrates with his Southampton teammates at St Mary's (Image: PA)

"Promotion won at Wembley, celebration of the players and fans, those were beautiful moments. But we have to forget about it and focus on the national team."

Bednarek is one of many Polish players who has enjoyed strong seasons at club level ahead of EURO 2024.

Having helped his side qualify for this summer's tournament by beating Wales in the playoffs, the centre-back is now looking to replicate his Saints success on the international stage.

He has thanked manager Michał Probierz for sticking by him after he received criticism from some Poland supporters.

"It's always better to come to the training camp after a success than after unsuccessful matches," Bednarek added. 

"There is a lot of positive energy in the national team. Many of us had a successful season, individually and also as a team.

"But we want more. We came here with good energy. I think that's what we have to do, build our self-confidence and approach to matches.

Jan Bednarek's Poland beat David Brooks' Wales to EURO 2024Jan Bednarek's Poland beat David Brooks' Wales to EURO 2024 (Image: PA)

"We are not satisfied only with club successes, but we also want to do well in the championship as a team."

He concluded: "The coach showed that he believed in me. I thanked him for it because he was one of the few people who showed me support.

"Criticism can be good, it can develop, but when it turns into rudeness and lack of respect, it shouldn't happen.

"It can hurt anyone. It was difficult. That's why I want to give even more to the coach, repay him and help the team succeed.

"What the coach does, how he supports us and builds us, makes us want to give it back to him on the pitch."

Poland have been drawn in Group D alongside the Netherlands, Austria and France.