Richard Keogh believes Derby County’s fitness prevailed in their 3-1 win over Brentford on Saturday.

Jeff Hendrick, Cyrus Christie and Chris Martin all scored in the final 10 minutes at Griffin Park, as Darren Wassall’s side ended their eight-game run in the Sky Bet Championship without a win.

Alan Judge had given the hosts the lead in the early stages of the second half and Keogh admits it could have been easy for the side to think that it would not be their day again.

From that, though, Derby responded and relentlessly pressed to get back into the contest – leaving the Rams’ Captain to praise the character of his team mates.

Assessing the game, the 29-year-old said: “We started the game very well. In the first half we were the dominant team and were brilliant with and without the ball.

“We worked very hard out of possession and limited them to very little chances.

“Their goalkeeper also had a very good game and when you don’t take the chances that we did, it is easy to think that it isn’t going to be your day.

“They scored against the run of play in the second half and for about 10 minutes after that they were on top.

“We got back into it and in the end we fully deserved the three points. The lads showed great character, whilst the players that came on also did really well and changed the game for us.

“Darren spoke to us about taking what we had done in training and replicating it on the pitch and the changes he made were, after we had gone behind, were very positive.

“He’s told us that we are all good players and told us to just go out there and express ourselves. That’s what we did when we went behind.

“We’re a good team, we were good without the ball and that’s been a big focus for us. We did it very well.

“We worked really hard in training in the lead-up to the game, we had a full week to get some serious work in, and we were relentless in the first half. I think our fitness, which the boss has been big on, prevailed in the end which led to our class shining through. All in all, it was a quality performance and the work that we did in training came to the fore.”

The Republic of Ireland also praised the quality of the goals that Derby scored to turn the game on its head and added: “We scored three great goals.

“I am absolutely delighted for Chrissy (Chris Martin), he really needed that and for someone that hasn’t scored for a while, he took his goal very well.

“Obviously, Cyrus got his first goal for the club and Jeff took his well too. He went cold in a crucial moment, but he kept his head.

“We haven’t had that luck over the eight games before that. (Jacob) Butterfield did well to get back on to the line and get the ball away.

“It would have been very harsh on us if that had gone in, but we have gone up the other end and scored. No-one can begrudge us that victory.” 

Derby return to league action on Wednesday looking to record their first victory on home soil when they face Blackburn Rovers at the iPro Stadium, kick-off: 7:45pm.

Looking ahead, Keogh has preached that Derby must back their first win of 2016 up when they take on Paul Lambert’s side.

“There’s a long way to go, but it was important for us to get back to winning ways, now it is even more so to back it up on Wednesday,” Keogh said.

“If we continue to play like we did on Saturday, then we have every chance of getting another result.

“We want to get our home form back to what it was like earlier in the season.

“It’s about us doing the basics right, especially off the ball. The amount of win backs we did against Brentford when we lost the ball was credit to everyone for how we pressed them.”

Find out what else Richard Keogh has had to say after he penned his first Captain's Column notes in Wednesday night's Blackburn Rovers edition of The Ram.

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