Wayne Rooney was pleased with the level of performance from his Derby County players as they picked up a hard-earned point at Millwall on Saturday.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw in the Rams’ final Sky Bet Championship fixture before the November international break.

Derby started well at The Den, showing plenty of attacking intent, and got themselves into several good attacking areas high up the pitch.

After enjoying plenty of possession throughout in the opening 45 minutes, the Rams took the lead with a minute of normal time remaining in the half as youngster Festy Ebosele netted his first-ever career goal.

Rooney’s side pressed the home side high up the pitch and good work by Sam Baldock and skipper Tom Lawrence worked the opportunity for Ebosele to fire into the net from inside the box.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Millwall equalised in added time at the end of the half through former Rams full-back Scott Malone as he drilled home a powerful low effort past Kelle Roos.

Derby were reduced to ten men just after the hour mark after defender Nathan Byrne received a second booking for a foul on ex-Rams Academy graduate Mason Bennett.

George Saville and Benik Afobe spurned opportunities for the hosts to take the lead as they turned up the pressure to try and make the most of their numerical advantage.

Derby had to defend valiantly as a team and when called upon Kelle Roos’ handling impeccable, including a superb save from Afobe’s acrobatic effort.

While he was happy to record a point on the road, Rooney felt it could have been more.

Speaking to RamsTV afterwards, Rooney said: “I’m a bit disappointed not to get the three points.

“I thought we were excellent in the first half, played some really good stuff and had some very good opportunities.

“We should have scored more than the one goal we did and then in the second half we didn’t start as well as we did in the first half.

“We ended up with Nathan Byrne getting a red card and after that I thought we defended excellently and created some good chances as well, so I thought we deserved to win the game but a point is never bad away from home.”

He added: “You have to make tough calls when you go down to ten men. We could have brought Richard Stearman on, dropped deep and defended the box or try to have attacking players on the pitch who can be a threat to try and win the game.

“I thought bringing Louie Sibley and Colin Kazim-Richards on, and having Sam Baldock up there with Tom Lawrence before, we were still a threat throughout. I thought the lads were excellent today.”

Ebosele’s goal came on just his fourth league start for the Rams after forcing his way into the first-team plans in recent months.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has impressed Rooney and the Derby boss sees potential in the Academy graduate.

“I’m delighted for Festy to get his first goal,” he said.

“He’s been doing very well since he came into the first-team group in pre-season, and he is a threat. He causes defenders problems with his pace. He’s raw and it was a good finish from him, so I’m pleased for him.”

Rooney added: “It’s always disappointing when you concede soon after you score, especially with it being just before half time. It was a sloppy goal to concede.”

Derby went into the game off the back of disappointing 2-1 losses against Blackburn Rovers and Barnsley.

It was the first time that the Rams had recorded back-to-back defeats in the league this term and Rooney demanded a response from his players in the lead-up to the meeting with Millwall.

“It’s important that when you lose two games that it doesn’t drag on and we don’t lose three, four or five games,” he said.

“You have to get out of that run and I thought today, even though we could have won, a point is never bad. The reaction from the players to the last two games was very good today.

“We had two bad results against Blackburn and Barnsley but today the players have shown character coming here. It’s not an easy place to come and to play the style of football that we played; the players take a lot of credit for that.”

Derby have just over two weeks until their next Championship fixture when they face promotion-chasing AFC Bournemouth at Pride Park Stadium following the international break on Sunday 21st November (12pm kick-off).