Leeds manager Simon Grayson was full of praise for goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after seeing his side go down 2-1 to Derby at Elland Road.
Rob Hulse's goal and Kris Commons' penalty - either side of Luciano Becchio's equaliser - proved enough for the Rams to condemn Leeds to their first opening-day defeat in 21 years. It was a miserable start to the npower Championship campaign for Grayson's men, who despite plenty of energy in attack were indebted to Schmeichel for a string of outstanding saves to limit Derby to two goals.
Grayson said: "Kasper Schmeichel made some fantastic saves for us. He is a big personality with a big stature like his dad. His distribution and shot-saving were very good and he will learn from it, as a lot of the players will."
He added: "Both teams had opportunities but we passed the ball in the wrong areas, gave it away at times and invited a bit of pressure on ourselves. Even so, there were a lot of positives to take from the game. Derby have a lot of players who have been there and done it and we will learn from the experience.
"Rob Hulse works ever so hard but I felt our back four let him dictate to them what he wanted to do. We gave them too many opportunities but I warned the players before the game that this was a step up for us and we couldn't afford to switch off.
"We have to learn quickly and I am sure we will. There were plenty of things we did today that were encouraging but the first game of a season is always difficult and Derby can hit you on the counter attack through Paul Green, Kris Commons and Hulse.
"We had six players out who would quite easily get into our team. When we were trying to change the system we didn't have many attacking options. We have been trying to do some deals in the last few days and will continue to do that. It will be a bonus when our injured and suspended players return to the squad.
"We hit the bar, had clearances off the line and caused them problems though the result was disappointing. We will just move on to the next game. "
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