Chris Powell described Derby County’s display in their 2-0 win at Cardiff City on Tuesday evening as polished and professional.
Second half goals from Tom Ince and Nick Blackman handed Derby their second league win of the 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship season.
Ince struck with a low drive shortly after the break to set Derby on their way, before Blackman scored from the penalty spot late on after being fouled in the box by Matthew Connolly – who saw red as a result.
Powell, Derby’s assistant manager, took charge of the team after it was confirmed earlier in the day that manager Nigel Pearson would not be carrying out his duties at the game at the request of the club.
Speaking after the game, Powell told Rams Player HD: “It was a very polished and professional performance from the players.
“We always knew that we had to be focused, especially after Saturday’s performance and the defeat to Blackburn Rovers, which was a massive disappointment for everyone connected with Derby County.
“We needed to bounce back and that has been the focus since Saturday.
“We trained this morning and we knew what the team was. That was our game plan and they executed it.
“To a man, they were excellent and although we won 2-0, it could have been three or four at least.
“It’s the first time we have scored two goals in a game this season and we need to build on it now.
“It’s been a tough day, an emotional day for me, but I have got to say the players were really professional.
“They gave me and each other everything.”
Powell was full of praise for Derby’s travelling fans and added: “It was a good win for our fans. It’s a long way for them to come, especially with how the season has been so they deserve a lot of plaudits.
“It can’t be easy, but they have seen a good performance and hopefully they can build on this.”
Powell has also praised the quality within the Derby dressing room.
He believes the Rams have a talented squad to call upon and says it is down to them to show that in game situations.
He said: “We have got good players, but they haven’t shown it enough. I’m not lying when they say that, we have all said it to them. They know they are good players and they can get them into good situations.
“They have been doing that, but have been lacking that final ball. They did it well tonight, though.
“It was good for Tom Ince to get into the squad. He was always going to be in the team and it was great for Nick Blackman to get on and get himself up and running too.
“There is a talented player there, but he hasn’t shown it enough. I think we can get it out of him and he has got something to build on now.”
Academy graduate Max Lowe was handed his full league debut at left-back against the Bluebirds after two appearances in the EFL Cup earlier this season.
Powell was full of praise for the defender’s display, particularly having been a left-back himself in his playing days.
“In terms of our star man, I am going to go for Max Lowe,”he said.
“He reminded me of myself in many ways. To come into the side and perform the way that he did was fantastic and we just want him to build on that now. He’s a good, young, player and we need to be careful with him.
“Sometimes they play with no fear because they want that chance.”
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