STEVE McClaren has challenged his Derby County players to hit back straight away following the defeat by Championship strugglers Millwall.
McClaren offered no excuses after the Rams lost 1-0 at the iPro Stadium.
“It’s not often I have had to say we were poor – but this is one of those occasions,” said the head coach.
Derby have little time to dust themselves down.
Bolton Wanderers are in town tomorrow night armed with a recent record of three consecutive wins in which they have scored 11 goals and conceded one. They walloped Leeds United 5-1 at Elland Road on Saturday.
“You get results like the one against Millwall once in a while, it is a thunderbolt, and we have to pick ourselves up and bounce back on Tuesday against Bolton,” said McClaren.
Derby, third in the Championship and strong at home, were rocked by Millwall who find themselves in a relegation scrap.
McClaren admitted he was surprised and disappointed at the lack of quality shown by his team in the final third.
“We have normally delivered at home, shown quality and played with a tempo, but there was no tempo or quality. We were so poor in the final third,” he said.
“We hardly created anything.
“When we did, we could not finish.
“I think we could have played until Monday morning and we still would not have scored.
“We got in the final third OK. We built up and showed patience, but once there we just did not have enough to break down a tight defence.
“It was just one of those days. You get them in football, sometimes you cannot explain it.”
Derby had won eight of their previous nine home games in the League. Millwall had won only once in 16 attempts on the road.
Millwall striker Steve Morison headed the only goal just after the hour and Derby finished the contest with four forwards on the pitch plus centre back Richard Keogh up as an emergency striker.
“We wanted to score, we took risks and normally it pays off. This time it didn’t,” said McClaren.
“We have in games put four or five strikers on and than sat here afterwards and said ‘we went for it, and it worked’.
“But I also said then that we will go for it in other games and it ain’t going to work.
“We had chances and half chances that we normally take, but we didn’t.
“Millwall came and did a job. They frustrated us and the crowd, and in the end took the three points away.”
Derby remain in third place in the Championship with 12 games left to play.