"A big element" of Aberdeen's support expected their team to lose to Rangers in Sunday's Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hampden, says Derek McInnes.
The Pittodrie side were under pressure for much of the contest, but Lewis Ferguson's 79th-minute header snatched a 1-0 win to book a final with Celtic.
Aberdeen are five points behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership and McInnes "gets why" some saw them as underdogs.
"Not a lot of people would have given us much hope today," he said.
"I know how important it is for the club to beat Rangers in Glasgow. Our club's best success has been built on teams who did win in Glasgow and went on to win silverware. Hopefully we can do that again."
The 2 December meeting with Brendan Rodgers' team - again at Hampden - will be Aberdeen's fourth cup final since McInnes took charge in 2013.
Ferguson's header decisive in game where Rangers, without the suspended Alfredo Morelos and cup-tied Kyle Lafferty, mustered 15 shots, but only one on target.
"I thought they ran out of ideas, they huffed and puffed, threw crosses in from too deep, shot from too far out," said McInnes, whose side have won just three of nine league games this term.
"We've played St Mirren, Hibs at Easter Road, Rangers at Hampden - we've not conceded. To win the cup, we've got to beat Celtic. There's not many teams win a cup beating that calibre of opposition. If we go and win it we've thoroughly deserved it.
"While we're still getting our team up to full speed and finding out about our players, it's good that we can get the club into another cup final."
McInnes confirmed defender Andrew Considine is "absolutely fine" after being taken to hospital following an aerial collision.
"There's no concussion. He landed on his neck and the medical staff didn't want to take any chances with the pain in his neck. We'll see how he is tomorrow," the Dons boss added.
'You don't want to win like that' - analysis
Former Aberdeen captain Willie Miller on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound
There are many ways of winning games, but you don't want to win like that, backs-to-the-wall. You'll take any win, but if you can do it with a bit of flair, if you can do it with domination then that's the way you prefer to do it.
I didn't think Aberdeen defended that well. They've been better than that this season. They left gaps and there was uncertainty between the defenders.
You absolutely take the victory, they showed a lot of courage, determination, they dug in, they took everything Rangers had to throw at them.