Captain Ellis Genge says the time Leicester Tigers spent in “the gutter” inspired their revival as a Premiership force this season.
Leicester need to get past Northampton on Saturday to reach their first Premiership final for nine years.
Their first semi-final in five seasons comes two years after they were spared from the drop by Saracens’ relegation for salary cap breaches.
Genge said he has “taken pride in the whole process” of rebuilding the club.
“That’s why this team has got to where it is now,” said Genge.
“If you don’t have any pride when you are 11th [in the table] then we wouldn’t have got to where we are now because we wouldn’t have cared.
“Imagine if you had everything brilliant the whole way through, you finished top your whole career, and you never knew anything different – then yeah, you would hang your hat on that.
“But when you have been in the depths and right down in the gutter and you come all the way up and have seen the resurgence, that is when you really feel pride.”
After missing out on the play-offs for the first time in 14 years in 2018, 10-time Premiership champions Tigers struggled at the foot of the table in the next two seasons.
They finished second from bottom in 2018-19 and again the following term, with only Saracens’ points deduction and subsequent relegation saving Tigers from the drop.
In Steve Borthwick’s first full campaign as head coach at Mattioli Woods Welford Road last term, Tigers finished sixth in the table and 17 points off the semi-final spots.
This season they made history as the first Premiership club to go an entire season on top of the table after every round.
England prop Genge will now be looking to lead the Tigers past bitter East Midlands rivals Northampton in his last home game for the club.
The 27-year-old, who will leave Leicester at the end of the season to return to Bristol, said he has focused on keeping his emotions in check.
“You’ve got to beat the drum when the time is right, you don’t want to do it early in the week because you’ve got to get your detail down first,” said Genge.
“If you start going nuts and spitting flames then you’re not going to learn much during the week so you’ve got to wait until Friday, Saturday for the ‘Any Given Sunday’ speeches.
“But there’s a time and place for them and they’ll definitely come.
“I just want to completely empty the tank for the supporters who have been there throughout.”