Midfielder Max Bird labelled Derby County’s 2-1 victory over Reading at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon as a ‘massive’ one for the side.
A fine strike from Tom Lawrence put the Rams ahead just before the break, and skipper Wayne Rooney made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time after Martyn Waghorn was fouled in the box.
Reading were given a lifeline when Andy Rinomhota headed in just after the hour after the Rams failed to clear their lines.
Derby saw the game out to record a fourth successive league victory and Bird felt it was another big one for Phillip Cocu’s team.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game, Bird said: “It is a good win; a massive win for us.
“We have one goal in the changing room and that’s to get in the play-off places.
“If we keep winning games like these, then we will have a chance.”
Bird, 19, felt Derby showed both sides of their game over the course of the 90 minutes.
They dominated for the majority of the first half and went in at half-time two goals to the good thanks to Lawrence and Rooney.
Reading, however, had the better of the second period and Derby had to display their defensive qualities to come out on top.
“We played well in the first half and were dominant,” Bird said.
“It wasn’t how we would usually play. They kept Matt Clarke and Andre Wisdom on the ball a lot and stopped me and Wayne Rooney from having it.
“The first goal came from that, with Andre bringing the ball forward, and the second goal just before half-time was crucial.
“I thought we made it difficult for ourselves in the second half. We didn’t start too well but, in the end we defended really well and got the three points.
“Defensively we looked good in the second half. It was a defensive challenge and we didn’t look after the ball well, but we still created some chances. “
He added: “We looked strong and didn’t look like conceding. We have got some tough games coming up, but we know what quality we have in the team and try to get in the play-off positions.”
Bird, who was one of four Academy graduates to feature in the game, has made 20 first-team appearances this season after forcing his way into Cocu’s plans in the second half of the campaign.