Gary Rowett asked for a reaction to Derby County’s loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend – and he certainly got it.
The Rams got their 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship season up and running with a 1-0 home victory against Preston North End at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Forward Matej Vydra scored the only goal of the game just before the half mark from the penalty spot after Curtis Davies had been hauled down in the box by Paul Huntington.
Rowett felt his side displayed more determination and energy as they claimed their first victory of the campaign.
Derby had plenty of chances on the night with Andreas Weimann, David Nugent and Vydra all going close before the deadlock was broken.
Overall, Rowett was a far happier man than he was at 5pm on Saturday with three points on the board.
He told RamsTV: “It was much better tonight.
“There was much more energy in the performance and I felt much better about the shape.
“We just needed to limit space and when we actually countered, we had some really good chances and probably should have killed the game off with the chances that we had.
“It was an evening where we had an awful lot of chances. There was certainly a lot more energy to the performance, as I said, and I thought you could see that.
“It was a much brighter performance with more determination. We certainly upped our game a little bit more this evening.”
Rowett had also spoken in the aftermath of the Wolves defeat of the need for Derby to be better off the ball.
There was a more resilient look to the Rams’ defending against Alex Neil’s side and the 43-year-old, as a result, believes his side showed a more patient side to their game.
He said: “You have to be resilient against any team like Preston as well. They are going to stick the ball in the box towards the end and you’ve got to make sure that we defend well.
“I think we really limited them to very few opportunities and again it was a much better performance.
“Preston started the game by dropping in a little bit like Wolves did. They obviously looked at the weekend’s game and tried to do what they did.
“Therefore, we had to be patient. You are always going to get times where everyone is going to get a little bit nervous and that is where you’re going to have to hold your nerve and just keep moving the ball.
“We got into some very good positions and I think with a little bit more composure at times where we win the ball back, it could be even better.”