Marcelo Bielsa praised his Athletic Bilbao players for their quick responses to Schalke's goals as they moved into the Europa League semis.
Trailing 4-2 from the quarter-final first leg, the Royal Blues twice took the lead at San Mames through Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Raul.
But the hosts replied with strikes from Ibai Gomez and Markel Susaeta to secure a 2-2 draw which earned them a 6-4 aggregate victory and a last-four meeting with Sporting Lisbon.
"The draw was fair," Bielsa said. "The beginning of the game was not comfortable for us. As time went on, we played better. Reacting quickly was key to stop the momentum of Schalke."
"At the start of the second half we did not count on them scoring a goal. After our second equaliser, we played well. The last half-hour from my point of view was good."
Sporting secured their progress with a 1-1 draw at Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday night, which earned a 3-2 aggregate win, and Bielsa cannot wait for the last-four encounter.
"Portuguese football is very attractive and I am glad that we can compete with them," the Argentinian said. "I'm happy to face against Sporting because of everything that Portuguese football represents."
Bielsa was also asked at his post-match press conference about speculation linking him with a move to Inter Milan, but said only: "In these kind of issues it seems prudent to speak of bare facts and not hypothetical situations."