Manager Frank Lampard cut a frustrated figure after admitting Derby County failed to kick from a good start against Ipswich Town at Portman Road this evening.
Tom Lawrence gave the Rams the lead after just two minutes but Ipswich grew into the game and threatened throughout.
With pressure mounting, the Tractor Boys managed to get the equaliser 10 minutes into the second half as Jon Nolan fired past Kelle Roos to ensure the points were shared as the game finished in a 1-1 draw.
“From going 1-0 up in the early moments of the game, we didn’t play well enough to win it and we should have done,” Lampard told RamsTV. “There was a great chance for us there to take control of the game but we didn’t.
“No disrespect to Ipswich, and credit to them, they had a good go at it but we are trying to push up the league and push up the play-off spots and if you come here and get yourself in front then you have to do more with it.
“Our quality was down, it’s a simple fact. If you can’t keep the ball well enough and you keep giving it away then you give a team a chance and their equaliser was coming, as far as I was concerned.
“I felt it at half-time because we kept giving the ball away. It was a common thing throughout the night, we’re usually better than that but we weren’t today.”
Despite his frustration, Lampard was keen to look for the positives and highlighted the impact of those that came off the bench in the second half.
One of those substitutes, David Nugent, had two late chances to secure all three points for the Rams.
“All of them, Bryson, Nugent and Bennett; they breathed life and effort into us, personality and force around the box and we had two or three chances to win it,” he said.
“Nugent was unfortunate with the slip when he was about to pull the trigger on one and the header that deflected onto the crossbar. On another night we might have nicked a win late on when probably we didn’t deserve it by the way we played.”
Andy King made his first start for the Rams tonight following his Deadline Day arrival from Leicester City on loan for the rest of the season, whilst Bradley Johnson made his first appearance since the end of November.
Whilst Lampard is keen to keep consistency, he did stress the need to keep the squad fresh during a busy period in terms of fixtures.
“There is no priority but it’s about using the players in the squad where I can,” he commented. “You have to have trust in the players and work hard as a group to win as a group so you use the squad.
“It didn’t come off today but we haven’t been beaten. It doesn’t feel great at the moment in the context of the season, it might be a fine result but I just felt going ahead we could have won the game.”