Key's Leeds have earned one Premiership point so far
Director of rugby Andy Key believes Leeds are heading in the right direction again after their performance at Premiership leaders London Irish.
Despite a 40-24 defeat at the Madjeski Stadium, Leeds put in a much improved showing and scored three tries.
Key told BBC Radio Leeds: "We got far, far closer to the performance we know we are capable of giving.
"There was a lot more pride and passion and we would have beaten many other sides with that display."
Leeds remain bottom of the Premiership after five straight losses, and have taken only one point - one less than at the same stage last season.
Key added: "We scored three tries against the league leaders and we are now moving back in the right direction.
"We showed more of a cutting edge, with a high work rate, and that's what we wanted.
"We wanted to see high energy, physicality and see the players playing with excitement.
There are 17 league games to go. If we perform in those 17 games like we did here then we'll be turning the corner very quickly
"I think we saw that for the first time lasting for about 70-75 minutes, and we are very proud of that.
"We lost and are disappointed by that, but are energised by the performance.
"We look at the bigger picture, there are 17 league games to go. If we perform in those 17 games like we did here then we'll be turning the corner very quickly."
Leeds now head into the European Challenge Cup, before home Premiership matches with Sale and London Wasps.
And Key is more confident about his side's chances after witnessing the return to form of some of his most influential players.
"I think we saw two or three guys back to their best," he said.
"Hendre Fourie didn't get the pre-season he wanted due to his operation.
"He's had to use the league games to get his match fitness and we didn't see him perform.
"Marco Wentzel was outstanding. His work rate and energy levels around the field and his overall contribution was superb.
"Kearnan Myall was really excited and enthusiastic and Luther Burrell and James Tincknell in the centres really stepped up.
"I think a lot of players proved they are more than capable of playing at this level.
"There's still room for improvement and the guys are keen to do that and that sums up the great spirit we saw."