Wayne Rooney was understandably disappointed as Derby County returned to action following the first international break of the Sky Bet Championship season with a defeat on Friday night.
Derby were beaten 2-0 at Birmingham City as they were beaten for just the second time in the 2021/22 campaign.
Rooney’s fell behind just after the half-hour mark in the West Midlands as Scott Hogan found the net from close range.
Lee Buchanan’s back-pass intercepted by Lukas Jutkiewicz and although Kelle Roos came off his line to smother the initial effort, the ball found its way across goal and Hogan was on hand to hook the ball into the net.
Tom Lawrence forced a save from Birmingham goalkeeper Matija Sarkic just after the hour mark with a long-distance effort, while Louie Sibley blasted the rebound over the crossbar.
Jeremie Bela sealed the win for the Blues late on with an emphatic finish to send the Rams home with nothing to show for their efforts.
Rooney told RamsTV after the final whistle: “I think we started well but when they got the first goal we didn’t get back to playing the way we wanted to, so it’s a frustrating night.
“I thought at 1-0 we could still get back in the game and win it. We were pushing in the second half; there were no clear-cut chances but we had some half chances to get back in it.
“I was looking to make a change to the team shape before they got the second goal, but as soon as that happened it was game over really - so it’s a frustrating night.”
He added: “I felt we were playing some decent stuff, moving the ball well at times in the first half but I thought we lacked that little bit of energy and those runs in behind in the final third.
“I felt there was space there for us, so I thought bringing Jack Stretton on to go up alongside Sam Baldock could cause them problems, but we didn’t do it enough. We didn’t look to play in behind enough and stretch their defence.”
Derby face another trip across the Midlands on Tuesday night when they head to recently relegated West Bromwich Albion (8pm kick-off).