Wayne Rooney says everyone connected with Derby County must continue to believe they can remain in the Sky Bet Championship.

Derby entered the international break following a 1-1 draw against Coventry City on Saturday afternoon at Pride Park Stadium.

Rooney’s side produced a positive performance against the Sky Blues but were unable to reward themselves with all three points.

Derby found themselves a goal behind after 28 minutes as Coventry striker Matt Godden fired a low effort beyond Ryan Allsop after good build-up play by the visitors.

Skipper Tom Lawrence’s tenth goal of the season, from the penalty spot after he was brought down in the box, saw the Rams back on level terms just after the hour mark.

Coventry had the better of the chances as the clock ticked down, while Louie Sibley saw his header hit the post in the final minute for the Rams as the points were shared.

The result leaves Derby eight points adrift of safety and despite admitting to being disappointed at not picking up maximum points, Rooney remains in a positive frame of mind.

Talking to RamsTV after the game, he said: “I thought the lads were excellent today. We were a bit sloppy in the first 15 or 20 minutes and we paid the price for that by conceding the goal but then after that, I thought we did well.

“The lads kept trying to push to get the winner, which we couldn’t get, but I think overall a point is better than nothing and I’m pleased with the performance.

“The players still believe; I still believe in this group of lads and we will keep pushing. I would have liked three points today, but it wasn’t to be.”

He added: “I think it’s a good point for us and I am sure it will turn out to be a good point at the end of the season; we must keep believing.

“We are a good team, we are working hard every game, playing good football which the fans want to see and we will keep pushing.”

Youngster Malcolm Ebiowei collected the Sky Sports Man of the Match award for his impressive showing over the course of the 90 minutes.

Rooney was delighted with the 18-year-old’s showing as he caused the Sky Blues problems throughout.

After making the step up from the Under-18s in recent weeks, Rooney believes he is making good progress.

Rooney said: “It’s as good a game I’ve seen from a young lad for a long time.

“He was brave on the ball, not worried if he made a mistake, positive, direct and playing with energy and with a smile on his face - so I’m delighted for him.

“We’ve seen a glimpse of what a really good player he can be.”

Owing to the fourth and final international break of the season, Derby will return to Championship action in a fortnight’s time when they host Preston North End at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday 2nd April (3pm kick-off).