Phillip Cocu admitted Derby County were far from at their best as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Fulham in their latest Sky Bet Championship game on Tuesday evening.
Bobby Cordova-Reid gave Fulham the lead early on as he scored from close range after Derby failed to clear a corner.
Aleksandar Mitrovic's header just before the interval from a left-wing corner doubled their lead and had Scott Parker’s side in control.
Derby pushed to find a way back into the game in the second half but were unable to find a way through the Cottagers’ backline before Tom Cairney slid home their third late on.
Cocu stated in his post-match media duties that the hosts deserved all three points, but he was clearly disappointed with in particular the two goals that his side conceded in the opening 45 minutes.
“Today we have to accept that Fulham were better than us,” Cocu told RamsTV.
“It was difficult to stop them. They have an excellent striker in Mitrovic and our defence struggled a lot with him, but again the goals have come from set pieces.
“I think the first goal we could avoid and after six minutes they had exactly what they wanted. They had the lead by a mistake from us in the set piece.
“We didn’t get back in the game and they played with even more confidence after the goal. The second goal was also disappointing.
“In the second half we improved a lot, we pushed them back and got into better positions in front of the goal. We saw some crosses go into the box but maybe only in the last ten minutes were they good that the strikers had the opportunity to get a shot in on goal.
“Before that, even in the first-half and especially in transition, we got in good positions across but the delivery was not good enough.
“The third goal is a mistake, but we had to try to get back in the game. We took more chances. We couldn’t get it back to 2-1. If we had done it could have been a point there for us in the game because they would have perhaps got a little bit nervous in that period. With the 3-0 it was done.”
The defeat on the road means that Derby have failed to pick up a single point from their last four away fixtures.
In contrast, they have won their last five on home turf at Pride Park Stadium.
Cocu says that Derby need to find consistency between their fortunes at home and away - and he wants his side to bounce back from their defeat at Craven Cottage when they take on Queens Park Rangers at Pride Park on Saturday.
He said: “Especially in the first-half, the players couldn’t bring their game like in the home matches.
“Also due, of course, to the opponent because you have to look at yourself and we could do better. It was also a credit to Fulham that we couldn’t play our game.
“Maybe we were not at our level as we were against Preston on Saturday. We have to make sure we bring it in the Queens Park Rangers game at Pride Park again this weekend.”