Wayne Rooney has stressed the importance of Derby County keeping their cool and refusing to panic.

Derby remain eight points away from clawing themselves out of the Sky Bet Championship’s relegation zone following Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at Luton Town.

Despite putting in a positive display against the play-off chasing Hatters, the Rams made the journey back home with nothing to show for their efforts.

The defeat at Kenilworth Road was Derby’s second inside four days, after going down 2-1 at home to Millwall last Wednesday, but Rooney says it is important to keep calm and not to panic.

Rooney’s side are back in action on Tuesday night with a trip to Cardiff City (7:45pm kick-off), before welcoming Barnsley to Pride Park Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off), and with six points up for grabs this week he is well aware how quickly the outlook can change.

“Don’t panic was what I told the players after Saturday’s match,” Rooney told RamsTV.

“Football is a strange game at times and you can look at it in different ways. Ultimately, we lost the game and the whole atmosphere can feel a lot different if you win the game.

“If we had won on Saturday and Reading had won their match at Blackpool, we would have been in the same position as we are today so it’s important not panic.

“We just have to keep trying to pick up points and know things can change quickly.”

He added: “I felt that immediately after the game at Luton in the dressing room that the lads were really disappointed.

“It was quiet in there, as you would expect after the game, and that’s why I put some music on. I don’t like the lads sitting there silent, as it’s almost an awkward silence.

“I made it clear to the lads that we have to bounce back. We can’t panic and we make sure we prepare right for this game.”

Cardiff sit 20th in the league table and narrowly fell to defeat against league leaders Fulham on Saturday.

The Cottagers picked up three points against the Bluebirds with their chief marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic netting the only goal of the game.

Cardiff are 13 points clear of the bottom three and have shown steady sides of progress under former Wales international Steve Morrison in his first managerial post.

Rooney is expecting a tough test against Morrison’s side and he said: “Cardiff are a strong side, a physical one, and would I imagine we will have quite a bit of possession in the game.

“It’s how we use that possession what will be important in terms of how we keep the tempo of the ball and we keep the ball moving quick.”

The Derby boss concluded: “We are expecting a tough game. They are strong so set pieces are always important so we have to make sure we’re focused and ready for that, but if we do what we feel we can then I feel we can dominate possession and bounce back from Saturday’s defeat.”