Wayne Rooney has urged Derby County to be more ruthless in the final third as they look to build on their solid defensive foundations.
Derby are back in Sky Bet Championship action on Tuesday night when they welcome Luton Town to Pride Park Stadium (7:45pm kick-off).
Rooney’s side have kept three successive clean sheets in the Championship to pick up one win and two draws from their last three outings.
Those five points from a possible nine have seen the Rams return to a positive points return after 12 were taken from their season total in September after the club entered administration.
Despite sitting at the foot of the table, Derby share the best defensive record in the division with pacesetters AFC Bournemouth with eight goals conceded in 12 matches.
On the flip side, Derby haven’t been as free scoring as they would like to have been and seven goals so far this term is the joint lowest alongside Barnsley.
Ahead of the visit of Luton, who are tenth in the table and three points off the top six, Rooney wants his side to have a cutting edge in the final third.
“They are a difficult team to play against,” Rooney told RamsTV on Monday when asked about Luton.
“They are quite direct and aggressive off the ball so we know we will have to be confident and keep control in terms of taking the ball because there will be pressure on us, so we are expecting a very difficult game.
“We have to keep playing the way we have been. We are creating good chances, good opportunities to score goals but we have to be more ruthless and take more chances and that come our way.”
Derby returned to action after the October international break with a 0-0 draw at Preston North End on Saturday.
Rooney’s side had the better chances at Deepdale and came closest with defender Curtis Davies heading against the crossbar.
Despite picking up a point and keeping a clean sheet against the Lilywhites there was an element of frustration in the air at full-time.
“I thought the first half was very good,” Rooney said when looking back on the game.
“We controlled the game and quietened the crowd down and dominated the ball. We created some good chances throughout the game. I thought we deserved to win but if you don’t take your chances then a lot of times you get punished.
“We didn’t get punished in terms of not taking all three points, but we took a point. It’s always good to get a point away from home and now we have a tough game coming up tomorrow night.”
He added: “Our shape when we lose the ball is good too, we get back into a good shape and we are aggressive in how we defend. The pleasing thing is that we’re not giving too many chances away right now.”