NIGEL Clough believes his side need to stop “wasting their own work” following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at high-flying Watford.
The Rams were sunk by goals from Matej Vydra and Joel Ekstrand, and although they pulled one back through a Jamie Ward penalty – his 11th strike in just 14 Championship games – they could not find an equaliser.
However, once again, Derby dominated possession, but failed to turn that into clear-cut chances and goals.
Clough said: “We had numerous situations and it’s been a failing of ours, we don’t make the most of them in the final third.
“They’re absolutely knackered again, they give it absolutely everything.
“I just said to them you’ve got to learn that you’re wasting your own work in some ways.
“You’re putting so much in and there’s just little things that are stopping us getting a point or three.
“The second we rectify those or do whatever we can, then they’ll be getting the rewards for their hard work.
“You can’t fault their effort at all.”
The defeat means Derby have won just one game in their last eight in the league, and have not tasted victory on the road since December 15.
However, Clough insisted his side matched their continental opponents – who included no fewer than eight loan players from across Europe in their starting XI – and bemoaned yet another goal conceded from a set piece.
He said: “We’re quite pleased with the performance generally and it’s little things in games, whether it’s decision-making or a lack of quality.
“And then our old Achilles heel, failing to defend a corner as well, has ultimately cost us the game.
“I don’t think Adam (goalkeeper Legzdins) should have come for the corner, as it was too low.
“Conor Sammon was supposed to be marking the lad (Ekstrand), but he’s switched off for a moment and it’s cost us.
“There was nothing in the game generally between the two teams.
“They were two passing sides, I didn’t think there was a great deal, just that little bit of quality and us failing to defend the set play.
“But very simple things win or lose football matches most of the times.”