Norwich
Norwich are expected to earn an estimated £120m following their promotion back to the Premier League.Getty Images

Norwich have bounced back to the Premier League at the first time of asking following a comfortable victory over Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off final.

The Canaries, who appointed 33-year-old Alex Neil as manager in January after the resignation of Neil Adams and beat local rivals Ipswich to progress this far, produced a dominant performance over their promotion rivals at Wembley in a match typically dubbed the richest in football due to the lucrative financial rewards on offer to the victor.

After a tense opening, both crossbars were rattled within the space of a single minute through Bradley Johnson and Jelle Vossen.

Norwich then edged in front after 12 minutes when striker Cameron Jerome caught the hesitant Daniel Ayala in possession outside his own penalty area before coolly slotting past Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.

That lead was doubled just three minutes later as a slick passing move involving Steven Whitaker and Jerome culminated in Nathan Redmond taking an excellent first touch before firing decisively into the bottom corner.

Middlesbrough never looked capable of rousing an effective response to such a devastating early setback and struggled to provide Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, a doubt before the game with an ankle injury, any sort of effective service throughout the remainder of the 90 minutes despite Aitor Karanka's best attempts to motivate his team.

Looking to make amends for his earlier error, Ayala headed over the bar from a corner after the interval before seeing a goalbound effort crucially blocked by substitute Lewis Grabban.

Norwich could have added further gloss to the scoreline late on but Russell Martin failed to keep his own header down after he had shown great battling spirit to make contact with Redmond's centre.

"I believed we would do it, but it's one thing believing it and another thing doing it," Neil said after the final whistle.

"Big players arrive on the big stage and you saw that in the first 20 minutes - we were unbelievable. We worked so hard to get here. The worst thing you can do is walk off having been scared."

Karanka, a former assistant to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, was understandably disappointed at his side's defensive lapses but spoke of his pride and appeared to confirm that he will remain at the club next season.

"It's difficult because this team have done everything this season to get promotion," the Spaniard said.

"They played better, they didn't make mistakes, we made two mistakes, and in a final you pay for those mistakes. But we have to be proud of the players and this crowd.

"It's amazing to be here. It's not our moment now. It's a big step forward this season and we have to keep going the same way because this club, this crowd and this city deserve to be in the Premier League. I will start tomorrow to prepare for next season because it's my job."

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