Hull City boss Steve Bruce was relieved to reach the Championship play-off final and avoid an "embarrassing" capitulation against Derby.
Bruce's side won the first leg 3-0 before losing 2-0 in the second leg on Tuesday to edge through to Wembley.
"We handled the occasion really well on Saturday but we couldn't put one front in foot of the other on Tuesday," he told BBC Radio Humberside.
"It was a really difficult evening but we've got through."
Bruce has led Hull to Wembley three times in the last four seasons and achieved promotion to the Premier League in his first season in charge.
They were relegated to the Championship in 2015 but Bruce has led them steadily up the table, finishing the season in fourth place.
"It could have been our most embarrassing night but it's not, thank the lord," he continued.
"(Tom) Huddlestone clearly wasn't fit. That was a gamble, where he played with a knock, and I shouldn't have took that gamble."
Never in play-off history has a team overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit but Derby came close on Tuesday through Johnny Russell and Andrew Robertson's own goal.
Despite continued pressure from Derby, Hull were able to hold on and secure their spot to face Sheffield Wednesday in an all-Yorkshire final on 28 May.
"I won't try and mask it up any more - we did enough at Derby, where we put in a good performance," Bruce added.
"We know we will perform better than that because we can't be any worse. Let's make sure now that we try our upmost because we have just seen our Achilles heel."