EVERY word manager Russell Martin said after Saints secured their spot in the Championship playoff final against Leeds United with a 3-1 win over West Brom.

Congratulations Russell, how proud are you of the players for reaching the playoff final?

RM: Yeah, I'm really grateful to them and I'm really proud of them. Tough game against such a good opponent and a brilliant coach in Carlos. So we knew it was going to be difficult.

I loved the energy of the team, the welcome we got from the fans when we came in. I've not seen anything like that.

They were amazing, they really played their part tonight so I'm really grateful to the supporters for that.

Honestly, it was incredible. A lot of emotional people on the bus seeing that on the way in really set the tone.

It made the team talk really easy. So, yeah, really good night. I'm proud of the players. They showed so much courage to play football in the way we played. 

They were, honestly, at times, brilliant and beautiful against such a good opponent. In the second half, I think we got better as the game went on.

I think we deserve to win tonight on that performance. Now the challenge is to do that again on the biggest stage and to bring that courage and aggression and to be themselves - the team we want to be.

What about Leeds, you have beaten them twice already this season - what a game that is going to be.

RM: I think it's going to be a really top game of football.

It's going to be one to look forward to and to also feel a lot of butterflies and nerves throughout the week.

We have to manage that with the players and staff. The players deserve that.

They deserve the opportunity because of how brave they've been, how much belief and understanding they have now and what they're doing, how much they've stuck with it even when it's been a bit bumpy at times. 

I said that from day one, it wasn't going to be easy to change a style of play and a culture and a club that had a tough, tough year the year before. 

They've deserved the opportunity, they've earned it.

They've earned every single bit of it and now they have to really make the most of it. Tonight was a beautiful moment for us.

We've had so many here this season. The fans were incredible but we have a chance to have a better moment next week. So we have to make sure that's the case.

How nerve-wracking was the game and how relieved were you when Smallbone opened the scoring?

RM: Once the whistle goes it's so much easier.

It's all the stuff before and not knowing what's to come (that is nervy). From the first five, ten minutes I liked our team. I could see the boys were there.

We spoke about trying to get into flow as quickly as possible in the game and they did that and they found some rhythm. 

We're playing against a really good opponent so it's tough to break down. 

There were some bits that we needed to work on at half-time to help the team. They still have to go and carry it out and, honestly, they were amazing. 

It was a tough game but we got there and we were patient. We got stronger and stronger so it was good.

Supporters were throwing things at the end of the game - what do you make of that?

RM: I didn't see it, but I think it's unnecessary and I'm pretty sure it'll be a real, real minority. 

Our fans were amazing tonight so for those that did do that - if it tarnishes the night we've had and the win we've had and getting to Wembley in any way then they've let themselves down really. 

Hopefully, as I said, it was really very few people and hopefully the majority had a brilliant night and I thought they were great.

It was suggested on commentary that Darnell Furlong couldn't throw in his bombs because of an extra inner ring of advertising hoardings. Was that just a coincidence? 

RM: I think the Saints Foundation had a chance to ask people to donate. Listen, you do everything you can.

The pitch at West Brom was really dry. It wasn't watered as much as it could have been.

Tonight Darnell didn't have as long as he possibly could have to throw, it's within the laws of the game. It wasn't my suggestion but it was a great suggestion and it made me play the part. 

You said it was emotional on the bus, what could you actually see?

RM: Not much, there was just red smoke everywhere. 

The noise was incredible and you could see the passion of the people. The lads started seeing their family in the crowd as well.

I saw my brothers and my son. Honestly, the noise was amazing. I just wasn't expecting it to be that big. 

I think it's brilliant from Phil (Parsons) and the gang at the stadium, who really promoted that and made a big deal out of it. It definitely helped us tonight.

It looked like you had a moment with your son on the pitch after the game, how great was that?

RM: Yeah, it was beautiful. Really nice. I want to have an even better one next week.

For Will Smallbone, an academy graduate to get the first goal is special.

RM: He's been so good. To hear the fans singing his name when he comes off and the performance he puts in.

I've said to you a few times, it's been one of the greatest privileges to watch Will grow and turn into what he's turned into

(He is) selfless. (He) runs so much. He's developing a real aggressive side now, out of possession, which I'd really love to see. He's going to be a top, top player for this club and he already is. 

He's such a valued member of the team by his teammates. He is so well-liked because of what he does. He's been an absolute star. He has to, like everyone else, now go again. 

Will Che Adams be fit for the final and was it a case of not risking him this evening?

RM: Yeah, he will be, for sure. He will be involved. Whether that's starting or on the bench, he will definitely, definitely be involved.

For him, the risk did outweigh the reward in the end because he still felt a little something.

Fair play to him, he said he would try. He said 'If I'm needed, I'll give you 10 minutes off the bench, 15 minutes or whatever.' He will be ready in some capacity for the final.

There was anxiety about Ross Stewart because he didn't seem to be that involved in the warm-up and he didn't come on. Is he okay?

RM: He's fine, yeah. He took a whack in the first leg, but he's taken part in some training and he was only going to be used tonight if we really, really needed him. 

We are really expecting him to be fully fit and recovered in time for the final as well. It could be two really big options for us.