AC Milan coach Leonardo said his team had produced an extraordinary response to a tricky pre-season by beating Siena 2-1 on Saturday in the Brazilian's first Serie A game in charge.
The rookie boss, who succeeded new Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti at the end of last season, suffered defeats by Chelsea, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich among others in the build-up to the new campaign.
Supporter unrest over the sale of Kaka to Real Madrid and frustrations over bringing players in also clouded preparations for the league opener, but Alexandre Pato scored twice to seal the win after incisive passes from Ronaldinho.
"Losing is always difficult. Losing is never good, it's hard because it creates doubt. But I believe the (pre-season) results were not important," Leonardo told Sky television.
"The base of everything is pride and the will to get yourself in the game. The response in this sense has been extraordinary."
Ronaldinho, who sometimes struggled in his first season in Italy last term, had one of his best games for Milan now that he can play centre stage and does not have to share playmaking duties with Kaka.
"Ronaldinho has covered all the roles in attack and slowly but surely he is finding his position on the field," added Leonardo, who played him behind strikers Pato and Marco Borriello.
"Ronaldinho, on the counter attack with Pato and Borriello, did well. Your position in that role must always change. When we had the ball, Ronaldinho took up a position more central and more advanced."