Wayne Rooney has stressed the need for Derby County to show greater consistency in the second half of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.
Derby head to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) as they look to record back-to-back victories in the league for the first time during the campaign.
Tuesday night’s impressive 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth at Pride Park Stadium, secured thanks to Krystian Bielik’s first half goal, saw the Rams move out of the relegation zone.
The victory means Saturday’s trip south to take on Mark Warburton’s side provides the opportunity for Rooney’s side to kick on and claw themselves further up the table.
A win for Derby would take them two points behind Rangers and close the gap on other teams sitting just ahead of them.
Rooney, who was appointed as the Rams’ manager last week until the summer of 2023, wants to see his players rise to the challenge of picking up maximum points for the second game in succession.
“It will be a tough game,” Rooney told RamsTV. “Queens Park Rangers have got two physical strikers up top who can cause teams problems and we have to be ready for that.
“If we play with the energy and desire which we showed on Tuesday night, and try and add a bit more quality to that, I think we have a good chance of winning the game.
“We know Saturday is a challenge for all of us. If we want to get to where we want to be then we need to start showing consistency in results and performances.
“It is an important game for us. If we win, I think that can be the start of something really good to come for the next few weeks and give us the extra bit of confidence to take forward.”
Rooney demanded a reaction from last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham United when Bournemouth game to town in midweek.
The 35-year-old got what he called for as the Rams produced one of their best displays of the season and maintained their impressive form against the division’s pacesetters this term.
Rooney switched formation, moving to 3-5-2, and after taking some time to reflect on the 90 minutes he was very pleased with what he saw from his side.
“I was delighted with Tuesday’s game,” Rooney said. “I demanded a reaction from the players after the game against Rotherham and they gave it.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy and we changed the system for the game. We put a lot of work in at the training ground to make sure the players knew the roles we wanted from them and they performed them very well.
“I think the performance was good and they got back to what we have been trying to do; playing with high energy, pressing and creating a few chances. I think the performance was very good and we deserved the win.”