Derby County fell to their first defeat of the 2019/20 campaign on Tuesday night, succumbing to a bitterly disappointing 2-1 loss against Bristol City at Pride Park.
The Rams had made a solid start to life in the Championship under Phillip Cocu, picking up five points from their first three league games after a 2-2 draw with Stoke at the weekend.
Back in front of their home fans, Tuesday night gave Cocu’s side a real opportunity to make a statement and defeat a main promotion rival from last season in the Robins.
But it was the visitors who looked the better team throughout the night, and an impressive first half display was rounded off perfectly thanks to goals from Andi Weimann and Josh Brownhill, who fired City into a 2-0 lead at the break.
Lee Johnson’s men had to hang on in there towards the final stages of the encounter, when Jack Marriott pulled a goal back for the hosts, but it was too little too late for the Rams.
Here, we take a look at three things we learnt about the Rams after their defeat to Bristol City in midweek…
Jack Marriott has to start against West Brom
Marriott completely changed the impetus of the game when he came on off the bench. The fans were crying for him to come on, and he simply didn’t disappoint.
The striker went straight up top alongside Waghorn, and often had to drop deep and create chances for himself due to City’s solid back-line.
His goal was superb, picking the ball up on the edge of the area and curling it magnificently into the top left-hand corner, and he definitely played his part in getting the Rams back into the game.
After the game, FLW attended Cocu’s press conference, and the Dutchman said that he didn’t want to risk Marriott after coming on at Stoke at the weekend.
But, if he’s fit and available this weekend against West Brom, he simply must start. He holds the ball up so well, offers pace in behind, and scores goals, most importantly.
They need to start games much better at home
Unlike the game at the weekend, where they came flying out of the blocks and found the net after just two minutes, Derby need to start games much better at Pride Park.
The first 15 minutes of the game was dominated by the Robins, who dictated the tempo straight away and immediately looked like a solid, organised unit in defence and midfield.
Derby, meanwhile, were resorted to playing the ball sideways and backwards due to the high-paced pressing from their opponents, and struggled to reach focal point Waghorn who was left isolated all night long.
Big things are expected of any team in front of their home fans, but the Rams faithful will be mightily disappointed with their side after the first two home games of the season.
Krystian Bielik could be a real star
The night saw former Arsenal man Krystian Bielik come in and make his first league start for Derby, with the Pole coming in to replace George Evans.
The versatile defender came in and played as a holding midfielder, sitting in front of Matt Clarke and Richard Keogh and trying to build attacks from the back.
He wasn’t really in the game too much, but he looked like a player who is confident at collecting the ball and moving it to the flair players with ease, as well as having some nice touches in midfield.
Whether he plays as a midfielder for the remainder of the season remains to be seen, but he is more than capable of thriving in that role if Tuesday night’s performance is anything to go by.