Danny Wilson admitted his Sheffield United side struggled in their attempts to break down a resilient Doncaster outfit as the two South Yorkshire teams fought out a goalless draw at Bramall Lane.
Rovers threatened early on when Martin Woods saw his low angled shot parried by Mark Howard before the United goalkeeper also kept out Chris Brown's follow-up.
United's best effort came from loanee Paul Gallagher, who tested Gary Woods with a 25-yard strike which the goalkeeper turned over the crossbar.
Wilson said: "We put them on the back foot for long periods but credit to them, they defended very well. They were very deep and it was very difficult to get round the back of them.
"It was good defending from their point of view. If we defended like that all season, I'd be quite happy.
"I think it was a typical derby game. It was nip and tuck. Apart from the first minute when we made a mistake and Mark (Howard) came to our rescue, after that I thought there was nothing in it."
Doncaster boss Dean Saunders was pleased with how his defenders handled the home side's direct approach after the restart.
He said: "I suppose it's a good point when you're playing against the biggest club in the league. I'd have taken a point before the game.
"The two centre-backs were magnificent. They were planting balls on top of them and they were just heading the ball out. They (United) suit this league.
"We didn't really put our foot on the ball and get it to our wide men and front men but it was a proper scrap and I'm just pleased we kept a clean sheet."