Wayne Rooney felt Derby County’s players once again showed their determination and desire as they claimed a welcome 1-0 victory at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Striker Colin Kazim-Richards scored the only goal of the game just after the hour mark in West London in a game of few clear-cut chances.
After Tuesday night’s 1-0 victory at home to promotion-chasing AFC Bournemouth, the victory over Mark Warburton’s side ensured the Rams recorded back-to-back wins in the Sky Bet Championship for the first time this season.
Rooney was delighted with the way his players applied themselves, particularly when it came to digging in to hold on to their lead as the hosts mounted late pressure.
Derby restricted the home side to few chances during the 90 minutes while goalkeeper Kelle Roos kept out Yoann Barbet's acrobatic overhead kick late on when the backline was breached.
“Today is a big result for us coming off the Bournemouth victory in midweek,” Rooney told RamsTV.
“We knew this was a very important game. It was not the best at times in terms of quality, but the character the lads showed to dig in and make blocks was great.
“Lee Buchanan had three, four or five headers, really important headers, at the back post and that showed to me that we fought really hard for this win today. I am delighted for the lads. It is another good three points.”
He added: “Once we got the goal we knew we would have to dig in and try and stop crosses coming into the box and when needed I thought Kelle Roos was fantastic again for us. That is what I want, for each player to make my decisions harder. That is all you can ask for.
“Everyone, in the way we defended, was excellent. The lads who came on off the bench showed great willingness to do the work for us as well. We got the goal and we saw the game out well.”
Derby are now five points clear of the bottom three and their progress under Rooney, who was appointed as manager on a full-time basis earlier this month, is clear to see.
After a poor start to the campaign, the team is beginning to find consistency in results and performances.
Rooney’s side have a week to prepare for their next game with Bristol City the visitors to Pride Park Stadium next Saturday (3pm kick-off).
“We have a bit of a break until next week so the lads can enjoy a day or two with their families and come back ready for the next game against Bristol City,” Rooney said.
“We can get better, I know that, but the one thing that I am delighted is, is the character the players is showing and the willingness to work for each other and to fight for each other.
“You can see that in the dressing room today what it means to them to get the three points.”