Matt Clarke was quick to admit that Derby County weren’t good enough after they were on the wrong end of a heavy loss at Cardiff City on Tuesday night.
Derby were beaten 4-0 by the promotion-chasing Bluebirds at Cardiff City Stadium in their latest midweek fixture in the Sky Bet Championship.
Wayne Rooney’s side made the journey to the Welsh capital off the back of four points from their previous two matches, following the 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town a week ago and last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
However, they were unable to build on those positives against Mick McCarthy’s in-form side as they moved into the play-off spots.
Cardiff led 1-0 at the break courtesy from Leandro Bacuna’s finish midway through the half, while further goals from Kieffer Moore, Bacuna and Will Vaulks in the second half secured a comprehensive victory for the hosts.
Clarke admitted Derby were not good enough in their performance as a team and the centre-back told RamsTV after the game: “It was a very humbling night for us.
“As a squad we feel like we are moving forward and we have been doing well recently, but football has a way of bringing you back down to reality and that was it tonight for us.
“We tried to do a lot of the right things; we had some good passages in the game, but ultimately we got big moments wrong. We failed to put the pressure on Cardiff and ended up putting pressure on ourselves and that cost us.”
The on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion defender added: “We knew what we were coming into tonight. We knew we had to get the details right and be set up properly behind the ball and we didn’t do that on many occasions.”
Derby are back in Championship action on Saturday afternoon when they head to the West Midlands to face Coventry City (3pm kick-off).
Under Rooney, the Rams have generally shown a good reaction to setbacks and Clarke says there’s no time to dwell on the disappointment felt in the dressing room.
“You analyse it, you look at it and you have to learn from it,” he said. “We have so many games coming up and we don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves and dwell on it. We have to learn from it, put it behind us and move on.
“We feel that there are plenty of games to go this season and it isn’t a case of praying or hoping results go around you.
“It is about what we do and get our performances right and points on the board. If we do that then we will be fine. There are plenty of games coming up and we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for them.”
He concluded: “In football you can say you’re unlucky, but sometimes you have got to hurt after games and from those moments you can learn and come back stronger.”