Leeds head coach Darko Milanic said his side turned in their best display since he took charge after fighting back to secure a 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw against Yorkshire derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
Leeds centre-half Giuseppe Bellusci steered home a 79th-minute equaliser to rescue a deserved point for his side after Chris Maguire’s thumping finish had given Wednesday the lead early in the second half.
Milanic’s wait for his first win in charge is extended to three matches, but his side showed enough in spells to suggest a morale-boosting victory is just around the corner.
Wednesday were grateful to goalkeeper Kieren Westwood, who tipped over a goalbound first-half blockbuster from Leeds midfielder Rudy Austin and made superb saves to deny lively Leeds striker Mirco Antenucci twice in the second period.
“We had a good game, yes,” said Milanic, whose first game last weekend ended in a 2-0 defeat at Brentford before a goalless midweek draw against Reading.
“We had a good game with a lot of energy with a lot of good play also in the last third, which is what we missed in the last game.
“We had some very good actions, we played well and we had some very good opportunities, but the goalkeeper was extremly good.
“After they scored it was very difficult and we lost a little bit of calm.
“But after we made it 1-1 I believed that we could win the game.
“We played against a team who were very quick to get behind the ball and there was not a lot of space, but we did it sometimes very well.
“The players here have quality, but we have to do somethings better in the game.”
Milanic refused to be drawn on whether he felt his side could mount a play-off challenge.
“My job is to improve the team,” he added. “I have to see the players on the field in a big game like this and they have the quality, yes.
“There’s enough quality. But my job is to improve them like I said.
“We’re working very hard to make a good team.”
Wednesday routed Leeds 6-0 at Hillsborough the last time the two sides met in January, but Owls manager Stuart Gray said they fell below the standards they had set so far this season having lost only two of their 10 league games prior to kick-off.
“That wasn’t us,” Gray said. “We didn’t pass it as well as we’d passed it and our ball retention wasn’t good.
“Second half we tried to get more physical presence and more of a focal point up front and we got a foothold in the game and a great goal from Chris Maguire.
“At the end of the day you’re not always going to get it your own way. You need to dig in and we had Kieren Westwood pulling off some fantastic saves.
“But then I thought after we got in front we’d go on and win the game.”