Wayne Rooney was once again quick to praise the determination and desire of his Derby County players after their picked up a deserved point on the road at Fulham on Wednesday night.
The match ended in a 0-0 draw in the capital with Rooney’s side building on the impressive 3-2 victory against promotion chasers Bournemouth on Sunday with an impressive point.
The Championship leaders had won seven matches in a row going into the midweek clash under the floodlights and Derby knew they would face a tough assignment against the free-scoring outfit.
However, in typical fashion under Rooney’s management, the Rams produced a resilient and determined team display.
Derby had an early chance to take the lead as Tom Lawrence forced a save from Paulo Gazzaniga in the Fulham goal after Curtis Davies surged forward from defence to set up the Rams’ skipper.
At the other end, the home side came close as Jean Michael Seri rattled the crossbar with a thunderous long-range strike and Kelle Roos also produced a good reaction save to keep out Neeskens Kebano’s deflected free-kick.
Lawrence drew another save from Gazzaniga before the half was out as Derby continued to ask questions of the hosts.
Roos denied Fabio Carvalho early in the second period and the Fulham attacker also hit the post before the hour as Marco Silva’s side applied pressure to the Derby backline.
The Derby goalkeeper kept out Carvalho as the clock ticked down while Rodrigo Muniz’s rebound header was hacked off the line by Davies.
Rooney’s side saw the latter stages out well to pick up a valuable point on their travels and extend their unbeaten run to three matches.
With Derby battling against a 21 point deduction to stay in the division, Rooney is delighted with the way his players are handling the challenges being posed to them and believes they have shown they are capable of competing with the very best the division has to offer.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game at Craven Cottage, Rooney said: “It’s a good point.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game against a good team and we knew that we would have to work really hard.
“We created some good chances and on another day we might have nicked a win but a draw is probably a fair result. We pushed to try and get the winner, we brought Ravel Morrison on for Craig Forsyth to try and get another attacking player on the pitch and push for the win, but unfortunately we didn’t.
“I said to the players beforehand that it’s important that we go into matches without fear and not think about the league position being false.
“We are a good team and we are capable of competing with any team in this division, I really believe that but we have to work hard and that’s one thing that these players have done incredibly well throughout the season.”
He added: “We’ve got four points in the last few days from two very good teams and some very good players with good squads.
“I think for our group of players, they work extremely hard and I could praise every single player tonight. Four points in the last two games is a good return, I feel, but it means nothing if we don’t go back to Pride Park next Monday and get three points.”
Derby are back in Sky Bet Championship action at Pride Park Stadium on Monday 29th November when they face Queens Park Rangers in their final fixture of the month (7:45pm kick-off).