Steve Davis praised his Crewe team for showing another side of their game in the win at Coventry in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy northern final first leg.
After soaking up Sky Blues pressure, two Bradden Inman goals and one from AJ Leitch-Smith saw them to a 3-0 victory.
"This was what you don't associate with Crewe, grit and determination," boss Davis told BBC Radio Stoke.
"It wasn't easy for them but they all came through with flying colours tonight - I'm very proud of them."
Crewe will go into the second leg at the Alexandra Stadium in a fortnight's time with a great chance of reaching the Wembley final on 7 April, but Davis is taking nothing for granted.
"It's only the first part of it, but the gameplan we set up has worked - we set up to frustrate them a little bit and deny them opportunities.
"What we tried to do is get those little breakaways, and we know if we do get Brad [Inman], AJ [Leitch-Smith] and Byron [Moore] they've got a chance of scoring," he said.
"We rode our luck, sometimes the goal led a charmed life but you need that luck in football if you are going to progress sometimes.
"Having said that some of the defending was magnificent and that was the basis of the result."