Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson hailed former club Salford City’s promotion to the Football League but feels he and Bernard Morley could have achieved the same feat.

After guiding the Ammies to the 2016/17 National League North title, the current Blues bosses were replaced by Graham Alexander at the start of last season.

Salford eventually finished third before advancing to Saturday’s play-off final at Wembley, where they beat Fylde 3-0 to secure their fourth promotion in five seasons.

Part-owned by five former Manchester United players including David Beckham and Gary Neville, and heavily financed by billionaire businessman Peter Lim, the rapid progress has enhanced the club’s burgeoning profile further.

Reflecting on the club’s latest success, Johnson said: “All credit to them for winning the play-offs at Wembley, which is the best way to go up if you ask me.

“I fully expected it to happen this season for the club, whether it was by winning the title or this way.

“Graham’s done a very good job there this season and their promotion is fully deserved, but do I think Bernard and me could have achieved the same thing? Absolutely.

“With the finance and resources available there, I’ve no doubt we could have brought the same success in getting them into the Football League.

“That’s not to say it’s an easy job, because it’s not. It’s well documented how much ambition there is at the club but that can bring its own problems.

“The exposure the club’s had in recent years and the progress the club’s made make them a target for other teams.

“It means the opposition treats games against them like cup finals and that puts massive pressure on any Salford manager to deliver results.

“They had a bad run in the middle of the season and I think a lot of people expected them to fall away.

“But all credit to them, they got through that tough spell and have now got their rewards.”

In the lead up to the play-off final, Neville discussed the difficulty of making ‘clinical decisions’ at board level in the club’s dogged pursuit of success.

Speaking with BT Sport, the former United and England right back said: ”You have to make tough decisions. We have been really clinical at times over the last five years and sometimes you don’t like yourself for it.

“There are a lot of players who aren’t here today, managers who aren’t here, who have done a lot over this last five years.”

Johnson insists there is no enmity on his or Morley’s part for the nature of their dismissal, accepting it as symptomatic of the club’s ruthless ambition.

He insists the pair are now solely focused on delivering success at Chester after a first season that saw the club finish ninth and miss out on a National League North play-off spot by three points.

He added: “There’s no ill-feeling or negativity on our part at all about how things ended at Salford.

“We enjoyed our time there and feel like we’ve played a part in the club’s success, of course we do.

“When we first went to the club there were crowds of a few hundred. Those gates were nearly 2,500 by the time we left.

“But that’s all in the past now for us and we don’t have any more or less feeling for Salford than we do for our previous clubs like Ramsbottom.

“Bernard and me feel like we’re at the right club now. We’re excited about the future of Chester Football Club and in trying to bring success here in the new season and beyond that.”