Robert Snodgrass arrived at the midway point of the Championship season on Sunday in a mood of "bitter disappointment".
It said much about the mentality of Leeds United's camp that a 10th successive fixture fulfilled without defeat aroused such annoyance.
His manager, Simon Grayson, was inclined to think of a Boxing Day draw at Leicester City as an agreeable result but Snodgrass begged to differ. "Our standards are so high now that to come away from Leicester with a draw is bitterly disappointing," he said.
"Some people would say it's a point gained but I don't see it like that."
Snodgrass was frustrated in part by Leeds' failure to defend a 2-0 lead during the closing minutes of a tight league game. He has also come to see a point as the least United should expect to gain from visits to venues like the Walkers Stadium.
That opinion alone demonstrates the extent to which Grayson's squad have acclimatised to their division.
United's game in Leicester was their 23rd of the Championship term and the point they accrued their 39th.
Snodgrass felt no need to mention promotion as he looked ahead to the second half of the season but he was happy to state that Leeds' form since the end of October was worth their prominent league position. The club were in third place this morning, prior to their meeting with Portsmouth at Elland Road.
Leeds might have privately hoped for that rate of progression after their promotion from League One in May but they did not expect or predict it. Even now, Grayson shows no intention of discussing whether a similarly high position in the final league table is within United's grasp, saying on Sunday that he was simply working to build the club "brick by brick". He might still feel that Leeds are a model of over-achievement so soon after joining the Championship's ranks.
"You could argue that we're over-achieving but I don't really want to speak about that," Snodgrass said.
"At the start of the season, everyone tries to predict what you're going to do or where you'll finish but too much can happen over 46 games to be certain of anything. All I'll say is that I never doubted any of the players who are here.
"Where we go from here is down to us and the second half of the season will be fun and games. But performances like we've turned in recently deserve to put us near the top of the league. That's a fact. You can never be complacent but why shouldn't you feel confident when you've gone 10 games unbeaten? If you don't have confidence then you'll never get anywhere.
"At our maximum, I don't think anyone can live with us. That's my opinion. It's not to say that we're going to achieve this or that but
we all know now that on our day we're as good if not better than every other side in the division. I think we've proved that over the last 10 games.
"Nobody should be in any doubt that we can go to any ground or go up against any team and do the business. This little run's been first class and our attitude's been spot on week after week. If that continues then we're going be up there."
The cost to Leeds of the two goals scored by Leicester in the final 19 minutes at the Walkers Stadium was second position in the Championship, surrendered to Cardiff City after their win at home to Coventry City.
Snodgrass appeared to have settled United's Boxing Day fixture with a sublime volley on 55 minutes, the winger's third goal of the season, but Paul Gallagher and Andy King struck in quick succession to deny Grayson a first win as Leeds' manager over the club he represented with most distinction as a player. Five clashes with Leicester since the start of his tenure have yielded no more than a draw.
The comparison drawn with City on Sunday was nevertheless an encouraging one for United's boss, reiterating the strength of his squad's recovery from four defeats in five matches during September and October.
Leicester were responsible for one of those losses, outplaying Leeds at Elland Road to a degree which worried Grayson. "We didn't have any life or energy," he said after a tepid performance on October 19.
"They gave us a hard time that night," said Snodgrass.
"But that was when we were at our lowest point, probably at our minimum.
"They were the better side but we didn't play well. It wasn't like they outclassed us while we were at full tilt. For a while we've been getting better and more consistent.
"If you look back over the last few weeks, you'll see a lot of good performances from a lot of the players. In every game, most of us are doing the business.
"That's what we were striving for when things weren't going well and it's what we need to maintain. Being consistent isn't just about getting results. It's about people playing well every time they go onto the field. If you do that, you'll get results and that's what we're seeing.
"But to drop two points (away to Leicester) is genuinely disappointing. Never mind the fact we were 2-0 up – I honestly feel that a draw away at places like Leicester is the least we should be aiming for."
This afternoon's game with Portsmouth was the start of United's home straight, the first of 23 remaining fixtures which conclude at QPR on May 8.
A tally of 70 points is typically necessary for a play-off position in the Championship, and United will be free to concentrate on that target once they clear the mark of 50 usually required to stave off relegation.
"This is only a start but we're well used to the division now and they'll be used to us," Snodgrass said.
"We'll see how it pans out and it's important to keep a level head but I don't think there's any point in talking ourselves down. We're a decent side."