‘Maybe you deserve the luck’ - Rams’ boss on smash-and-grab City win
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Phillip Cocu hailed Derby’s fighting spirit but admitted they had to ride their luck to seal a first Championship win of the season at Norwich City.
Teemu Pukki’s bizarre missed penalty summed up a frustrating day for the hosts who lacked a cutting edge for all their possession.
Former Canaries’ keeper David Marshall was also in fine form with two late stops either side of Wayne Rooney’s match-winning 87th minute free kick to ease the pressure on Cocu.
“It is a massive win,” he said. “We all knew that eyes were on us, but we also knew we would face a team with a lot of quality.
“Norwich can dominate the game and combine well so we had to step up on the defensive part, especially after the first three games. We focused on it and we spoke quite a bit and about the work-rate and attitude we can show. This is a great example. If you do it, maybe you deserve the luck that comes your way.
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“The penalty was given, maybe from our angle it was doubtful, but maybe it is a penalty and they missed it.
“We talked about staying in the game, being solid and willing to do the work for each other. We came close on a few occasions, not through open opportunities, but close. A set piece can decide a game and when the free-kick was given, we knew this would be the moment to get the goal from Wayne Rooney. It is easier said than done; our captain knew that it was a big moment and he still delivers for us.
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“That is why he is a high quality player. We are pleased with the team-work and, of course, the win.
“To get the win in the last couple of minutes, all players still had to keep that desire with the clearances from the back, the saves from David Marshall.
“You have to perform as a team. I am extremely pleased with how we played today.”
Cocu reserved special praise for Marshall who foiled Max Aarons and Jordan Hugill with athletic reaction stops.
“We knew he was a quality goalkeeper,” he said. “He is vocal which is important in the dressing room with his experience, but he is an excellent goalkeeper and I am pleased for him that he can be important.
“It hasn’t been easy in the first couple of games, when he conceded a few goals without making a mistake.”