'We showed Norwich too much respect' - Rooney on Rams' reverse
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Derby boss Wayne Rooney felt Premier League-bound Norwich City were there for the taking in a 1-0 Championship home defeat.
England’s record goalscorer sensed his side lacked belief in the early stages but came on strongly after the interval.
"I thought in the first 20 or 25 minutes we showed Norwich too much respect and I felt after that the lads were growing in confidence,” he said. “We were getting on the ball a bit more. Second half we have got at them and caused them problems.
"We know how Norwich play.
"If you go and squeeze them, and press them high, they are a very good team and play through you and cause you problems. With a little bit more care in the final third we would have had a lot more chances.
“We have to take the positives from this. Norwich are the best team in the league and we have played really well against them. We have got a lot of injuries right now, but there are a lot of positives, although ultimately it wasn’t the result we wanted.”
Kieran Dowell’s classy free kick left rookie boss Rooney’s Rams stuck in 20th place and with work still to do to guarantee their Championship status.
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Derby now have away games at Blackburn and Preston, but Rooney is confident his side is on the right track.
"We have five games left and we know what we must do to make sure we stay in this league,” he said. “We have to focus on getting more points, because we're at a crucial time of the season. There are a couple of big games coming up for us and we have to take points regardless of our performance.
"The two away games then lead us nicely into the home game against Birmingham in two weeks. After those games we will know where we stand.
“We performed very well, especially second-half. We can take some encouragement. I felt the game-plan worked well, we were organised and we were making them play round the side of us rather than through us.
"The goal we conceded, of course it is a great free kick but it is a sloppy goal from our point of view.
"We knew it would be a lot of work for the players on the pitch, and then I thought Marshy (David Marshall) could have given the players a rest rather than rush it when our forwards, who had worked hard to help out defensively, weren't in attacking positions. So it is a frustrating goal to concede."