Antonio Conte admitted Inter were at risk of "a hammering" before they came from two goals down to beat Milan 4-2 in the Derby della Madonnina and go top of the Serie A table.
Goals from Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Milan two ahead at half-time, but quickfire strikes from Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino levelled the contest inside eight minutes of the restart.
Stefan de Vrij gave Inter the lead before Romelu Lukaku capped an unforgettable evening for the Nerazzurri with a stoppage-time goal, and Conte was full of praise for his gutsy side's comeback.
"It was a special night, that's for sure," Conte told Sky Sport Italia. "The first half saw us in real difficulty, perhaps more than we've ever been this season, and there was the risk of a hammering.
"Instead, we did well to get the balance back, to understand where we had to improve, to have faith in what we were doing and the credit goes to these lads.
"Aside from the result, I am happy to see them resist under blows and turn it around, as that means they are preparing for something truly important.
"It's still very early to talk about something we can for now dream of. We can have a dream."
Despite Inter's second-half transformation, Conte had little to say about his half-time team-talk and instead claimed his share of responsibility for a calamitous first-half display.
Inter face Napoli in their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg on Wednesday before taking on fellow title-chasers Lazio in Serie A on Sunday, and Conte looked ahead to a crucial run of games.
"It's going to be a very intense period for us coming up and, after that, I think we'll have a better idea of our potential and our real capabilities," said the Inter boss.
"We can't achieve everything from one day to the next, but we are building. These lads proved they have great strength and guts today.
"I didn't need to talk much at half-time. I think in difficult situations, you have to be very clear and take responsibility. I had a large share of the responsibility for the fact we were losing 2-0 at half-time.
"We stayed together, from start to finish, and found our way out of a tough situation. We have to keep this evening in mind, as it will help us be a team in future and deal with similar difficulties."