Leeds Carnegie director of rugby Andy Key insists an impressive second-half performance gives his team plenty of positives despite their 29-19 defeat to Bourgoin in their Amlin Challenge Cup opener.
The Yorkshire side were making their return to European action following a year-long absence but were unable to begin with a win on French soil.
But, having seen the Guinness Premiership newcomers dominate the second 40 minutes at the Stade Pierre Rajon, Key feels there is enough to build on ahead of Sunday's home game against Rugby Parma.
"Our second-half performance was very good," Key, who joined Leeds from Leicester Tigers alongside Neil Back before the start of last season, told the Yorkshire Post.
"We beat them 13-6 in the second half and that was down to our physical base - our forwards were outstanding.
"We just probably ran out of time in that second half and could have done with 50 minutes instead of the 40.
"It wasn't about containing them - it was more pleasing that we showed we were a better side than them in that second half.
"And as a result of that it was equally disappointing that we didn't win."
Leeds trailed 23-6 at half-time before 13 unanswered points put them to within an unconverted try of a first win of the new season. But their hopes of getting their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign off to the perfect start were destroyed by two late penalties from former fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo.
"Over the last few games we have been giving away too many points, but that didn't happen this particular weekend," added Key.
"Good teams are always going to score points on you, we've seen that in Heineken Cup games this weekend like the Leicester versus Ospreys game. But we're still moving in the right direction.
"Sometimes you have to applaud your opposition. In that first 25 minutes they played in typical French style; they offloaded quickly, moved the ball in contact and we found them a real handful.
"Alfie To'oala's try got us right back in the game and that all came about because of huge pressure in the scrum. That resulted in them slowing the ball down and making a number of infringements.
"On the strength of the second half performance we could have come away with a win that would have been nothing short of outstanding."
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