Phillip Cocu believes the value of Derby County’s squad mentality was evident in Saturday’s 1-0 win over high-flying Preston North End.
Derby recorded their fifth successive home victory at Pride Park Stadium courtesy of Martyn Waghorn’s first-half finish from close range.
First-half injuries to Graeme Shinnie and Mason Bennett saw the pair replaced inside the opening 30 minutes of the clash with the Lilywhites.
George Evans and matchwinner Waghorn came off the bench, while defender Andre Wisdom was introduced into the action late on to help the Rams over the line to claim all three points.
In addition to the in-game changes, Cocu handed Craig Forsyth a first appearance in just over a year – after recovering from a long-term knee injury – to ease a defensive crisis with Matt Clarke and Scott Malone sidelined.
Cocu has often had to shuffle his pack so far this season with injuries testing Derby’s squad and the 49-year-old says the weekend’s match was a perfect example of how everyone has a part to play.
Cocu told RamsTV after the Preston game: “With two substitutes having to come on in the first 30 minutes, we again saw how important it is that everyone in the team is involved, they know the tactics and they know the positions.
“It’s so important that they are focused on the game and put everything into the team and not only play for themselves because they don’t start the game.
“That is important, we can see that in 30 minutes with the two enforced changes.
“George Evans and Martyn Waghorn did very well and were important for the team.”
A total of 29 players have made first-team appearances for the Rams in all competitions, including four players from the Academy - Jason Knight, Lee Buchanan, Louie Sibley and Morgan Whittaker - making their professional debuts.