Pauric Mahony insists defeat for Waterford on Sunday would amount to "a poor year" for the Déise.
"Losing a semi-final is not going to be acceptable," he stressed, despite Waterford's outsiders tag against all-conquering Kilkenny.
"You want to go to September and go up the steps in Croke Park."
Mahony, who missed last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to the same opposition with a broken leg, added: "If I didn't think we could win Sunday I wouldn't be playing, to be honest with you."
Waterford were, "at a bit of a crossroads," prior to their All-Ireland quarter-final win over Wexford, Mahony admitted.
"We felt we were after making a good bit of progress over the last 18 months,," he explained.
"If we had to lose last Sunday (week), a lot of that would have been out the window."
"There was that kind of feel to it all right. It wasn't really said but we knew there was a lot of pressure on us going into the game.
"We felt we really, really underperformed in the Munster final and that wasn't going to be good enough again.
"It was just the principle of the defeat was hurting for all the members of the panel.
"That was something we really wanted to get off our chest and move on," he concluded.