Central defender Curtis Davies has praised the character shown by his Derby County team-mates following the 2-0 win over Luton Town at Pride Park Stadium.
The 34-year-old has had to wait patiently for his chance under Phillip Cocu, but once handed his opportunity he has grasped it with both hands.
Since his re-introduction to the side last month, the Rams have won two and drawn one of their last three games in the Sky Bet Championship and extended the club’s unbeaten run to five games.
Results on the pitch have seen Derby rise to 13th place in the table and sit only five points off the play-off places going into the October international break.
Speaking to RamsTV following the win against Luton, Davies said: “These kinds of games are character building.
“You can tell it was a tired performance, not because the lads have played three games in a week but the likes of myself, Jamie Paterson and Chris Martin have come out of the woodwork to play games.
“Graeme Shinnie also made his league debut and he hasn’t even been in matchday squad sometimes, so he came in and did brilliant and he put in a Man of the Match performance.
“I think it was a tired, disjointed performance at times, but ultimately the three points is all that matters and a clean sheet was massive for us.”
Davies continued: “It was what we needed to finish the week with seven points out of nine. We were devastated to concede late on at Barnsley to draw, but we knew we had a chance to finish on a high and go into the international break with a win and we did that.
“We would have liked it to have been a bit more comfortable; I don’t think it was our prettiest performance by any means, but we showed a different side to our character.
“We managed the game and limited their attacks to few chances. In the end, three points was all we wanted, and it was great to get a clean sheet finally and that’s what we have been lacking.
“We haven’t conceded too many from open play but set plays have let us down unfortunately this season and against Luton we did well in both areas.”
The Rams had fortune on their side on Saturday.
Early in the game, Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga failed to control Matty Pearson’s backpass and the ball rolled into the back of the empty net.
It was just the start the Rams wanted, made all the better as they didn’t need to work for the goal.
Derby continued to control large parts of the game and eventually made it two with 20 minutes of the game remaining as Tom Lawrence’s fierce shot from a tight angle found a way past Sluga.
“Unfortunately for their goalkeeper he has made a couple of mistakes and he has given us the game but ultimately if it was 0-0, we would have kept going,” Davies admitted.
“When you have a 1-0 or 2-0 lead, the impetus is on them to break you down. They weren’t able to do that and when Tom Lawrence puts that great shot in, then it was pretty much game over so long as we did our job and continued to work hard and defend.”