Jaap Stam admits taking Reading to the Premier League would rival winning the treble with Manchester United.
As a centre-half Stam was part of the all-conquering Red Devils side which won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999.
Now the 44-year-old Dutchman stands on the brink of guiding Reading to the top flight in his first season as a manager.
“To succeed in doing that would be one of my biggest achievements,” he admitted.
“It is the start of my career as a manager and for the club, when we started, the ambition was to eventually go back into the Premier League.
“You need to have a certain structure in achieving that and that’s what we spoke about at the start of the season.”
Standing in Stam’s way are Huddersfield, who Reading face in the estimated Â£170million play-off showdown at Wembley on Monday.
The Royals will be underdogs, just as they were in the semi-finals against Fulham and, indeed, have been for the entire season.
“Nobody expected us to finish in the top six,” added Stam.
“But if you can work with your players and find the spark to make a player or the team better, you get results.
“Of course, the players need to do it but we just tell them from our experience how we can do well against another team.
“Results give confidence and that gets bigger and makes it easier to get results.
“Sometimes you have setbacks and lose by big scores but sometimes that is good as it brings you down to earth as well.
“I don’t mind people talking in a certain way but we are working as a team and focused on improving as a team and making it to the Premier League.
“But if people want to make other teams their favourites, it is good by me.
“I think we are in form and in good shape, we never underestimate any opposition and know we will be facing a very good team with lots of qualities.
“We know it will be hard – but we have said that before every game.”