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Gary Rowett: ‘We started really well’

Derby County manager Gary Rowett praised his side’s start to the game during their 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.

The Rams gained three more points at Pride Park courtesy of goals from former Villa man Andreas Weimann and substitute Johnny Russell either side of half time.

The hosts came close to scoring early in the match, with striker David Nugent almost finding the net twice inside the first two minutes.

Derby manager Rowett said that the way his side started the match was very encouraging.

“It was probably the best start we have had all season”, said Rowett.

“Sam Johnstone has had to make three really good saves early on in the game in the first five or ten minutes.

“When Vydra gets in that pocket, he looks to cause problems and it is that run behind them where Nugent and Weimann try to get into those positions.

“Nugent came close from a Forsyth cross and we had some really good moments.”

Substitute Russell scored in second half injury time after replacing Weimann, who suffered an injury shortly after the second half began.

It was Russell’s second goal as a substitute this month and Rowett claimed that it is a testament to the depth and quality that is currently in the squad.

He said: “Johnny allowed us to get out at times and he gave us that little bit of attacking energy.

“We’ve got different players for different reasons that are performing really well.

“If I am being really honest, it’s the first club I’ve been at where the competition for places is really fierce; I think we’ve utilised that quite well.”

Derby’s captain Richard Keogh was outstanding during the game and he provided the assist for the hosts’ second goal.

The Republic of Ireland international was a key part of the result, according to the Rams’ manager Rowett.

“He was imperious today in terms of his defending but he also showed a different side to his game”, he said.

“You don’t really want your centre half stepping out and leaving a space behind him, but he senses the moment, steps out and plays a lovely little reverse pass to Johnny.

“He has showed all sides to his game today and he has been a real leader for us.”

Derby’s final game before Christmas is at home against Millwall next Saturday.

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