Derby boss Nigel Clough refused to be downhearted after a 2-1 home defeat to Burnley. "I don't want this to diminish the start we've had.
"Twelve points from 15 has been absolutely brilliant and the manner in which we've achieved them.
"The difference between the previous four matches and this one was we gave the first goal away in a sloppy manner.
"Mark O'Brien is only 18 and he will learn from it, the next time he will put the ball 20 rows back in the stand which is what he should have done at 0-0 at home.
"There are a lot of disappointed faces and disappointed players in there that we haven't gone on and got a least a draw from the game.
"We have to take stock and learn that when we get back to 1-1 we don't lose the game from that point.
"Probably a point over the course of the game would have been about fair because they are a threat as well and they hit the post a couple of times.
"But the hard work the players have put in has been tremendous, they have given everything and I thought they did that in the second half today.
"It's not always going to be enough but the young players will learn and will be the better for it."
Howe said: "I thought the game was there for the taking at half-time.
"We got our noses in front and looked quite comfortable but then Derby got going and put us on the back foot a bit.
"They equalised and you feared for us for what has happened this season but thankfully the lads dug in and showed great resilience and team spirit and all the hallmarks of a good side.
"You have to win ugly sometimes and for the last 20 minutes we battened down the hatches and saw it out.
"It's that toughness we need to get as a side and we still need to improve and do it better. But we put our bodies on the line and won our headers, all the things you need to do to win the game.
"We need to show that side of our game more consistently but it's a definite step in the right direction for us."