Gary Rowett felt that his side deserved all three points after Derby County drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
The Rams kept their rivals quiet throughout, so much so that Aitor Karanka’s side failed to have a shot on target on an afternoon when Derby created several clear-cut opportunities.
Rowett’s side had a superb spell just before the break, with Tom Lawrence twice going close along with David Nugent, but they couldn’t find the goal that would have secured a league double against Forest for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
The boss is unbeaten in his three East Midland derby fixtures, and he believes that his side deserved far more than the single point that they took back to Pride Park Stadium.
He told RamsTV: “I’m really proud of the players. I’ve been a part of three East Midlands derbies, twice at the City Ground and we’ve been the better team on both occasions.
“We’re unlucky not to win all three, so we’re disappointed, but proud of the character that was shown by the players.
“We had a fantastic run of play, Pantilimon made a really good save and then he gets a toe to the second one and it loops over the bar.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t make more of our chances because we looked very comfortable defensively.
“We have come to Forest and they haven’t had a single shot on target, they didn’t cause us any problems whatsoever and we had some really good opportunities.”
Rowett altered his midfield for the trip to Nottingham, with Lawrence and Bradley Johnson flanking Tom Huddlestone and he explained the switch after the game, as he reserved some praise for the lively Kasey Palmer.
He said: “We needed to make sure that we had a little bit more responsibility in midfield, Bradley and Tom played those roles really well, and then we had the opportunity to gamble.
“We wanted them half an hour to really affect the game and they looked lively when they came on.
“You have your heart in your mouth sometimes because he takes players on in his own half!
“He’s a player with lots of ability and he can make things happen, they struggled to contain him at times.”
Derby ended the game with ten-men after Huddlestone was dismissed for a second bookable offence, and Rowett made reference to some of the Rams’ previous stalemates when he reflected on the decision.
He explained: “I’m frustrated. If you look back to Bristol City, we had a penalty shout at the end and we had an offside goal against Millwall that was clearly onside.
“I could see it coming, it’s clear that there is no contact whatsoever and it’s clear that it shouldn’t be a second yellow card.
“We lost the opportunity to win the game when we were dominant, and we lost the opportunity to have Tom Huddlestone available for the next game.”