Gateshead manager Gary Mills says the best advice he took from playing under Brian Clough was to "enjoy the game".
Mills, 52, with Gateshead 19th, and led them to third in the Conference Premier, securing a play-off semi-final tie with Grimsby.
As a player, he spent eight years under Clough at Nottingham Forest, an era in which they twice won the European Cup.
"What I learnt from him is the game is simple, so keep things basic but make sure the players enjoy it," he said.
"The season is long, so you have to enjoy it from day one. Yes, you have good and bad times, but you have to try and smile all the time."
The Heed made sure of a top-five finish by in the final game of the regular season, stretching their unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Victory in the end-of-season play-offs would see Gateshead return to the Football League after a 54-year absence.
In the Tynesiders' last days as a League club, chairman Graham Wood was a regular supporter.
"My chairman is a fantastic man. I want to deliver for him, he badly wants to get back in the League," Mills told BBC Late Kick North East & Cumbria.
"The players have been fantastic for me. They have listened and worked hard and we deserved to finish third.
"But there's no point just being in the play-offs, we want to finish the season off and get promoted."