Gary Bowyer told his Blackburn players their performance against Derby at Pride Park has to set the tone for the remainder of the season.
Bowyer's first game in charge since signing a 12-month rolling contract over the summer was at the club where he spent six years as an academy coach prior to joining Rovers in 2004.
He saw his side start with intent and create the better chances throughout the game, which was one of six fixtures this weekend hand-picked by the Football League to mark its 125th anniversary celebrations.
It looked like Derby would hold on to the 43rd-minute lead given to them by debutant Johnny Russell from the penalty spot.
But substitute Leon Best, who struck the post with an effort on the hour, rescued Rovers a point two minutes from the end of regulation time with a superbly-taken volley.
It was a huge boost for Blackburn following a summer of rebuilding at Ewood Park.
Bowyer, who handed starts to four of his close-season signings and included another three new arrivals on the bench, said: ''I'm very pleased, it's a good start.
''We said over the summer that it would take time and that some patience would be needed but we should be pleased with that performance against a side that were very strong at home last season.
''We saw the character and spirit of the players and we created the better chances.
''We started well and I think if you look at our chances, we should have been up early doors. Leon then had one that hit the post and then you start to wonder if it's going to be our day.