The Celtic boss, though, noted that key players such as Georgios Samaras,
"I hope that we gained a little bit more respect tonight from the footballing world," said Lennon.
"I think Benfica went into the game heavy favourites but I don't think you could call the game tonight.
"I think a draw was probably a fair result.
"It shows that we have a bit of depth to the squad and can compete at this level.
"We didn't work their keeper as much as we would have liked but saying that I was very pleased with the team performance tonight.
"It was a very good tempo, a good shape to us, we were committed and played with real zest and no fear against a class side.
"It was a decent start for us, it could have been better it could have been worse.
"I think they will probably be the happier going away, I don't think there was anything really between the teams.
"There were 10 guys out there making their Champions League debut against a very experienced Champions League side so I am very proud of them."
Celtic plays Spartak Moscow away from home in its next Group G fixture and Lennon said: "You would like to win your home games, it makes things a little difficult for us but it is not insurmountable."
Lennon praised Brown who continues to play with an on-going hip problem.
He said: "He gives the team real drive. There were moments in the second half when he saw the danger and covered the ground and made tremendous tackles and nipped counter-attacks in the bud very quickly and he is improving all the time.
"He has matured a lot and has blossomed into the captain that he is.
"He has played at this level before, there were 10 who haven't, and he sets an example.
"He recovered very well from the game at the weekend and finished the game tremendously strong which was surprising and we will see how he is over the next couple of days."
Lennon did not tell his uncapped goalkeeper
He said: "I knew Ray was coming but I didn't want to relay it to Fraser.
"I wanted him to concentrate on his game and whatever he did, he did very well.
"He was composed assured and made a decent save in the second half, he should be every pleased with that."
Benfica boss Jorge Jesus did not concur with Lennon's assessment that he would have been the happier coach, but insists both sides, plus Spartak Moscow, which lost at Barcelona, have a chance of finishing second to the Catalan giant.
"We deserved victory," he said. "We knew it was not going to be an easy game.
"Celtic are a hard team who play very aggressive football with high balls but defensively we were very good and victory would have been deserved.
"I have said before that Benfica, Celtic and Spartak will fight hard but they (Celtic) did not take advantage tonight."
UEFA Champions League
Arjen Robben is desperate to bring an end to his own UEFA Champions League curse when Bayern Munich plays Borussia Dortmund in Saturday evening's (Sunday morning AEST) final at Wembley.