Phillip Cocu was quick to highlight Derby County’s need to defend much better in key moments of games following their 2-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night.
Grant Hall gave the hosts a first-half lead with a thumping half-volley, only for Martyn Waghorn to head home the equaliser two minutes before the break from Max Bird’s corner.
However, Ilias Chair scored seconds after coming off the bench to win the game for Mark Warburton’s side with 15 minutes remaining.
Derby had chances to level late on with Tom Lawrence and Waghorn going close, but they were forced to head home with nothing to show for their efforts in their latest Sky Bet Championship fixture.
Speaking to RamsTV after the final whistle Cocu said: “At the start, we needed some time to find the opening so we could take control of the game.
“After the equaliser, we did that. In the second half we played even better than the first half, created more danger and more chances to score.
“But from a moment where we lost ball possession from an opening from Wayne (Rooney), we still had a lot of players behind the ball. If you see the goal back we don’t defend well. They take advantage of it and score the second goal.
“We took the initiative after that and in the last 20 minutes or so we had four or five clear chances but we didn’t score the second one.
“I think we deserved an equaliser but we have to defend better in key moments if you want to have a result in an away game. If you concede two goals, it is too much.”
Cocu’s side created several opportunities in both halves to score more than just the once.
However, they were unable to make their pressure count in the attacking third.
While Cocu was encouraged by the way his side pushed to get back level, he is aware that Derby need to avoid finding themselves in a position where they have to bounce back from setbacks.
He said: “It is positive in terms of the performance and that is also the character we have in the team that we pushed until the last second.
“We have dealt with a lot of setbacks and that strengthens the team.
“We do not put our heads down and we keep on going until the last second of the game, as we did today. The fans support us until the last second of the game too and we were really close to scoring the equaliser.
“That is a positive thing we have in the team but we cannot be satisfied if we lose the game here because I think we had more qualities than our opponent but we didn’t do what we needed to in order to win it.”