STEVE McClaren says his Derby County team laid down a marker by thrashing Fulham, writes Steve Nicholson.
McClaren described Saturday's 5-1 victory at the iPro Stadium as the "perfect response" to the Rams' disappointing defeat at Charlton Athletic a few days earlier.
"Tuesday at Charlton was a kick-up the backside we probably needed to get our feet on the ground again," he said.
Derby, leading through Jamie Ward's goal, found themselves pegged back early in the second half when Scott Parker equalised for Fulham.
But the Rams roared back with two goals in as many minutes from Craig Bryson and Chris Martin, before another quick-fire double from Martin and Dawkins completed the win.
"Even when we conceded, we had to react again, and we reacted perfectly," said McClaren.
"We got stronger as the game went on. We played well in the last half an hour and were clinical with our finishing.
"We talk a lot about fitness, and I think ours shone through.
"We also talked before the game about reacting. John Eustace always says 'let's put a marker down' so at 5pm the other clubs look and say 'wow, Derby are back'.
"We needed that performance and goals to get back to what we are good at doing.
"We have got goals in this team.
"We are going to lose matches, we know that, but the key thing to getting beaten is how you react.
"Have we put down a marker? We wanted to do that, and we have done that but it is no good doing it for one game. We have to do it consistently.
"We are growing, and it helped that it was Fulham, a tough opponent. The players knew they would have to play and perform well."
Victory saw Derby climb to seventh in the early table while Fulham sit bottom and without a point from four matches.