Leeds scrum-half Richie Myler insists the fallen Super League champions will carry some momentum into their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final despite taking a backwards step in their last match.
The Rhinos' mini revival under the new coaching team of Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes was cut short by a 38-22 defeat at fellow strugglers Salford in the last round of the regular league season.
It was hardly the fillip Sinfield wanted to take into their semi-final with Warrington at Bolton on Sunday but Myler, who missed last Friday's game at the AJ Bell Stadium with an ankle sprain, believes not much damage was done.
"It wasn't great last Friday, I think it was a step back," Myler said. "As a group, we've been building some nice momentum and fine-tuning a few things. I don't think that was a fair reflection of the way we're going at the minute. I do still think we're on the up a little bit.
"I think, in the grand scheme of things, we've been going in the right direction since Kev and Jimmy took over. They've given us a bit of clarity and a bit of leadership and we have turned it around to a certain extent. Obviously it didn't happen on Friday but this week is another week and it's a break from the league and the pressure of that."
After finishing in the bottom four for the second time in three years, Leeds must fight for their Super League lives in the Qualifiers which start on Friday week but Myler does not believe the Challenge Cup is a distraction.
"At the beginning of the year, there's two cups to take and we wanted to have a crack at both of them," said Myler, who was in the Warrington team that beat Leeds 35-18 at Wembley in 2012. Obviously because of the situation we've put ourselves in, we can't win one but we can the other and so we'll be going as hard as we can at that. And obviously we hope to get the win and build some momentum from that to take into the middle eights. That's further down the line and we know we've got a big job to do there but our focus this week is all on the Challenge Cup semi."
The Rhinos are clear underdogs against a Warrington team who are battling for a top-four finish in Super League and knocked Wigan out of the cup in the quarter-finals.
Leeds reached the last four courtesy of wins over wooden spoonists Widnes and Championship club Leigh but Myler believes Sunday's tie is finely balanced.
"Semi-finals are 50-50," he said. "Form does kind of go out of the window, it's who turns up on the day and I think we've got enough quality in our team to back ourselves. We're feeling confident. We know it's a big task and a huge game in terms of what the outcome can bring. Warrington are such a classy side, we're going to have to be on our mettle to get the win."