Phillip Cocu was pleased to see Derby County round off their 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship season with a victory on Wednesday evening.
Derby concluded their league campaign, which was extended by over two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 3-1 victory at Birmingham City.
Graeme Shinnie gave the Rams an early lead from the edge of the box, but Ivan Sunjic levelled early in the second half for the home side after Derby failed to clear their lines.
But a late goal from Academy graduate Morgan Whittaker, his first-ever career goal, and a stoppage-time effort from fellow youngster Louie Sibley saw the Rams take all three points.
The three points, and results elsewhere, saw Derby finish tenth in the table at the end of Cocu’s first season in charge.
The Rams’ boss was happy to see the campaign out with a victory and with plenty of positives to build on in the future.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game, Cocu said: “The youngsters got the two late goals but whole team gave us a win.
“At 1-1, Birmingham knew they were safe with a point, but we wanted the victory and we went for it.
“We wanted to end with a positive result in an away game, so we made some offensive changes and I’m extremely pleased to see Morgan Whittaker get his first goal in professional football. I’m really happy for him and he’s worked really hard this season.
“He also got an assist for Louie Sibley’s goal too, which was a great strike to give us a win, so it’s a good way to end the season.
“We have finished tenth in the table and it’s a realistic position for the team, if you look at the season we had. We will have a short break now and prepare again for next season.”
A start date for the 2020/21 season is still to be confirmed at this time by the EFL and relevant authorities.
For the time being, Derby’s players and staff will utilise the opportunity to recharge their batteries before reporting back for pre-season training next month.
Cocu is of the opinion that everyone in the camp needs the chance to refresh both physically and mentally after a long season.
“All the players and staff will get a break now,” Cocu said.
“Moor Farm Training Ground is closed for over two weeks or so because a new season is coming.
“A lot of games are ahead of us next season and you have to be prepared and have a fresh mindset to come back after a break so we will have a short break, because we need it, to refresh for next season.”