Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott had mixed emotions after the 36-14 win at Castleford Tigers.
Rhinos saw an early 18-point lead reduced to just four at the start of the second half before three tries in the final quarter gave them a comfortable-looking victory.
The Leeds coach was full of praise for Tigers’ performance, but felt his own team were good only in parts.
“I thought we defended outstandingly,” said McDermott. “Throughout the game our defence was very, very strong.
“We created a whole lot of chances and our execution, I thought, was poor.”
He added: “We possibly could have scored more points, but Castleford came up with some sensational try-savers.
“I would give Cas a lot of credit, they put their bodies where it hurts. The club’s going through a bit of adversity, but you could see a lot of emotion in their performance. We were made to work really, really hard.”
It was assistant-boss Stuart Donlan’s second game in charge of Tigers with Ian Millward away on compassionate leave, after last Sunday’s home thrashing by Wigan Warriors.
Donlan said: “I thought the lads had a real dig, I can’t thank them enough for their efforts.
“We made a few errors in the second half and that took it out of us, which probably showed at the back end.
“We looked tired, Leeds started getting their offloads and that’s what got them home. The turnaround from Sunday has been absolutely fantastic. It was a real big effort, I am proud of the lads and I’m sure Ian will be too.”