Yeovil boss Gary Johnson said Ed Upson went from "villain to hero" after the midfielder's goal secured them a place in the League One play-off final.
The 23-year-old's 85th-minute header added to Kevin Dawson's early goal to earn the Glovers a
2-1 aggregate win over Sheffield United.
But Johnson had been critical of Upson in their 1-0 first leg defeat.
"There was one out there today who was a villain but now he's a hero," Johnson told
"Ed was one that had a lack of concentration in the first game and it led to their goal.
Ed Upson's season so far
- Games: 50
- Goals: 6
- Assists: 10
- Fouls: 55
- Bookings: 7
- Red cards: 1
"He thought all week that I might have left him out, along with a couple of others, but I gave those villains a chance to be heroes and that's what they did.
"Credit to them because I love them to death. When I smack them it's very sad, it's like smacking your little ones and you don't really mean it - but I might have to smack them a bit more to get our promotion."
Johnson is in his second spell at Huish Park and
previously led them to promotion
in 2003 and 2005.
The 57-year-old also has play-off experience from his time with Bristol City, and is aware of what is needed to overcome Brentford in the final at Wembley.
"The players are key. We need players who can motivate themselves and trust their training," he said.
"As a management team, you've got to make sure they've done everything they possibly could do and make sure they are ready for the big occasions.
"We've come this far and we've got to get this promotion now. We're one game away from the Championship and we can't blow it."