George Evans was absolutely delighted to see Derby County claim three points following a “gutsy” performance in their 2-0 victory against Bristol City.
The midfielder came off the bench to replace the injured Fikayo Tomori in the early stages of the game, slotting seamlessly in at centre-back to help the Rams to a clean sheet at Ashton Gate.
Tom Lawrence gave Derby an early lead, but the Rams defence was tested regularly by the Robins, who were hot on their heels in the play-off race heading into the game, looking take back the final play-off spot.
Brilliant defending, including goal-line blocks by Jayden Bogle and Martyn Waghorn, denied them the opportunity and extended the gap between sixth and eighth in the Sky Bet Championship.
Bogle then sealed the points late on by firing into the roof of the net late in the second half.
“Gutsy is the word in the desire we showed today,” Evans said following the game when speaking to RamsTV.
“We knew it was a very important game, so we are absolutely delighted.
“We know they are a great team, they wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t. We knew how big this game was because we did need the points.
“I thought we defended brilliantly from start to finish and it filters through the team. To keep a clean sheet away against Bristol City in a big game like this is a massive positive for us.”
It was the first time Evans has been called upon in a defensive role for the Rams, but he has been familiar with the position through his career and explained that Frank Lampard has worked with him a lot in training to provide cover for the centre-backs.
“The gaffer has been a big help to me, he talks to me a lot and puts me with Keysy and we talk a lot about positioning and covering so it’s nothing new,” Evans added.
“We have worked on it a lot in training so when Fik went down and the gaffer called me over, I was just delighted to get back on the pitch. It’s been a while and I am delighted with the three points and the gaffer was a big help to me going back on today.”
The 24-year-old is urging the Rams to back their performance against the Robins up in their final two games of the season, starting with an away trip to Swansea City on Wednesday before returning to Pride Park Stadium to face West Bromwich Albion next Sunday.
Derby are in the driving seat, having a game in hand over their closest rivals, Middlesbrough, who are level on points and Evans knows a victory on Wednesday will all but secure the final play-off place.
“We can’t stop here, we have got a big game again on Wednesday and we have to go on and win there as well," he said.
“It’s that time of the season now where every game is big. Now we will rest and recover and analyse this game and look towards the next because it is vital we get something out of that game.”