Steve McClaren admitted his hotly-tipped Derby County side were made to work hard for a point against a Sheffield Wednesday team the former England manager said were much-improved on last season.
Derby almost snatched the win late on when Johnny Russell twice went through one-on-one with Keiren Westwood but the stopper made two fine saves, however that would have been harsh on Wednesday who had dominated for long spells and drew priase from McClaren after what would in the end finish in a 0-0 draw.
McClaren said: “Sheffield Wednesday are a far better team than last season, I don’t think many teams will come here and collect points. I think they’re tough opponents and I think, first half, we got a taste of it.
“We were on the back foot, we stopped playing football and credit to Sheffield Wednesday, their game plan was good and they put us under pressure and they probably felt at half-time they should have gone at least one goal up.
“We thought we got off the hook but second half we got more control.
“We toughed it out against a physical team, defended very well, looked hard to beat and we know we just need to improve at the other end. We nearly won it, I was pleased with the way we finished the game, the last 20 minutes we were very strong. I thought we were going to win the game then.
“We had excellent chances and you need to take them. We could, like we did last season here, have sneaked the win (a 1-0 success) and that’s what you need to do.”