Curtis Davies felt Derby County let another game pass them by as they fell to a 1-0 loss at Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.
Nigel Pearson’s side opened the scoring with the game's first shot when teenager Alex Scott lashed in a finish after the ball broke to him on the edge of the box.
Ex-Rams striker Chris Martin and Antoine Semenyo wasted chances to double the lead as the Robins bossed the first half.
The Rams improved after the break, but Luke Plange's late effort from distance was the only save they forced from Daniel Bentley.
Manager Wayne Rooney was critical of the Rams’ first-half display and Davies echoed his manager’s verdict by admitting the side never got going at Ashton Gate.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game, Davies said: “We are very disappointed and the first half cost us.
“It was a slow, sloppy start and I thought they came flying out the blocks at us.
“They had a lot of men running into forward areas and were not afraid to turn it in behind us and they had men running from all over the place; we couldn’t deal with it.
“When we had the ball, we kept hold of it but then we would play a few passes and wouldn’t find the ball in between and we end up kicking it long which played into their hands and it became a scrap.
“We pretty much lost the fight in the first half, but in the second half we changed our shape and had two more natural strikers against their back three and it kept them back.
“We didn’t quite get that final pass and final shot right. We got into a lot of good areas for crosses and when you have two strikers on the pitch, we didn’t quite get the ball right and it is highly disappointing.
“On the balance of the first half, we deserved what we got but in the second half we could have possibly got back into it but I don’t think we made their goalkeeper make a save over the 90 minutes.”
He added: “It’s another game which has passed us by and we have to roll our sleeves up and go again.
“We have to be at it in every game. The effort and fight needs to be the style of the team first and foremost and then our football can take over. We lost too many of those individual battles in the first half, too many of those 50/50s, and it cost us.”
Derby were backed by another large away following and despite the club in administration and bottom of the table because of two points deductions, their dedication to the cause remains unwavering.
“I am almost lost for words to describe the fans,” Davies said. “We walk off the pitch at the end after disappointing result, when they have spent their hard earned money, and they still give us that reception.
“What can you say? It’s a joy to play in front of them and a joy to play for this football club when you have fans like that. They go home, they travel away, all over the place and they give us their all.
“I know all they ask is for us to give them our all and I think today we fell short of it in the first half. We can only apologise for that but we will come out better in our next match.”