Coventry City manager Steven Pressley was delighted with his side's display in their 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Sixfields.
Jim O'Brien scored the only goal of the game 13 minutes from time to clinch City a deserved three points.
Pressley insisted his side have already progressed from last season and said it may have been a game the Sky Blues would have lost last season.
"I'm very proud of the team," Pressley said.
"It's a game we may not have won last year, against a team that will absolutely be there or thereabouts this season.
"We've improved from last season and it's an excellent way to get our first win.
"We fully-deserved to win and we were first class
"When we play like we did we can be a very good side.
"We managed to see the game out, and the best way to describe our performance was professional."
The Blades should have opened the scoring within the first 15 minutes, but Michael Higdon's header in the six-yard-box forced a wonderful save from Ryan Allsop.
Allsop's opposite number Mark Howard had to make a save soon after and his superb one-handed effort kept out Danny Swanson's curling shot.
But the winner came after 76 minutes when O'Brien headed his first goal for the club from Ryan Haynes' cross, although the Scot's touch took a dubious deflection off defender Bob Harris.
United could have nicked an unlikely point, but a goalmouth scramble was cleared off the line by Andy Webster.
Blades manager Nigel Clough was left disappointed with his side's display and urged his players to hit the heights that have been expected of them before the season's start.
Clough said: "You'd have taken a point and a 0-0 with a first clean sheet of the season.
"But we've lost to what looked like an own-goal and we're obviously disappointed.
"None of the players have got going yet and we haven't had an energy about us.
"We're nowhere near settled, we had people in and out with injury in pre-season.
"Nobody has really cemented their place, apart from Mark Howard.
"The turning point was their keeper's save in the first half and if that goes in it's a different game.
"I'm very disappointed how we didn't create more chances.
"Everyone thought we'd be up there, and we didn't think we were as far ahead as maybe other people did."