Martyn Waghorn played a key role in Derby County’s goal in their 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough, but admitted to being disappointed that the Rams had to settle for a point after what he described as a 'fantastic' performance.
Frank Lampard’s side have been in fine form the three games following the recent international break, but were denied the a maximum return of nine points out of nine from a challenging week when Boro equalised in the closing minutes.
The Rams took the lead in the opening 20 minutes as they produced on a spectacular first-half display, in which they dominated as they had done in the 4-1 midweek win at West Bromwich Albion.
The Rams’ number nine got a touch on the end of Scott Malone’s cross that hit Middlesbrough captain George Friend on its way in early on.
Tony Pulis made all three changes early in the second-half after being fortunate to only be a goal behind, and the home side found a way to compete. Although they failed to get a single one of their ten shots on target and it was an own goal by Jayden Bogle that helped them to a point.
Following the game Waghorn admitted he was disappointed to not be leaving with the full three points he thought the team deserved but takes the positives from three “fantastic” performances against top opposition.
“The second-half we really had to dig in there,” the forward told RamsTV following the game.
“The first half an hour, 40 minutes I think we were outstanding, brilliant and really put them on the back foot and didn’t give them much time to really do anything they wanted to do. We knew the second-half they were going to come out and implement their game plan.”
He added. “I’m bitterly disappointed and today feels like a loss. We fought so hard and the boys have worked so hard in terms of getting themselves back up and going again from Wednesday night. It’s always tough, but it was a good turnaround.
“Sheffield United we played very well, West Brom we went there and dominated and today for large parts of the game I think we did that as well. It’s disappointing but in hindsight it was a fantastic week and we need to build on that and keep going.”
Derby are now unbeaten in their last five Sky Bet Championship fixtures and have drawn plaudits for the way they have shut down three of the top four teams over the past eight days.
Waghorn has started the Rams' last three games following the October international break and said he is thankful to be part of such an 'exciting' squad.
“I thought we were fantastic. That is what we are all about, pressing and closing. We are a very exciting team and to be playing in this team I’m very grateful and I just want to keep doing my best and stay in for as long as I can,” the 28-year-old said.
On Derby’s goal he added: “It did hit me, but I don’t know where it went after that. It came across very quickly and was a great ball by Scotty. I just tried to get something on it, whether it hit me then him, it went in.”
After collecting a valuable seven points in the Championship, Derby will take a quick break to focus on the Carabao Cup when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Premier League Chelsea in the Fourth Round on Wednesday.
Waghorn said: “We have had a fantastic week going in to Wednesday and hopefully we can keep that going the next ten days or so.
“We will get back, recover well and we have a good game to look forward.
“We will go there, with no pressure, enjoy the game and really take it to them. The last three games we have shown what we are all about and we have just got to go, enjoy ourselves, show what we did in the last round that we are capable of showing up on the day.”