Stephen Bennett says manager Liam Cahill's team-talk was enough to focus the collective minds as Waterford recovered to defeat Kilkenny and reach the 2020 All-Ireland final.
First-half goals from Richie Hogan and TJ Reid propelled the Leinster champions into a healthy seven-point lead.
Added to that was some wayward shooting from the Déise and it appeared that just a third-ever championship win over the Cats was beyond the Munster finalists.
Bennett, who finished with a tally of 1-10, was central to the revival as Waterford outscored the Cats 11 points to four in the third quarter before eventually prevailing by four points, and they will now meet Limerick or Galway in next month’s decider.
Man-of-the-match Bennett admitted that it was a poor first-half showing from the men in blue and white.
"Coming up, we promised we wouldn’t let Kilkenny kill us off in the first 10 minutes. I think we were over eager and maybe tried too much. There were snapshots, we were panicking," he said.
"We did silly things in the first half.
"They got two goals with the bounce of the ball. We felt at half-time we had definitely five or six mistakes made. We knew we had a chance."
'Too many games we're after leaving behind us'— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) November 28, 2020
Man of the match Stephen Bennett says Waterford will not lack for motivation or confidence ahead of All-Ireland final after inflicting a rare semi-final defeat on Kilkenny #rtegaa https://t.co/czuXxifNjS pic.twitter.com/b3uPWELC1V
At the break, the message was clear from management; after putting pride back in the jersey in 2020, they couldn’t just limp out of the championship yet again at the hands of Kilkenny.
"In fairness to Liam and the lads, they said we can’t come up to Croke Park and leave it like that after a positive year. We can’t just come out and get hammered, seven points down. We shouldn’t have been seven points down
"We always believe in ourselves."