Derby County suffered a 3-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic in the Championship on Saturday afternoon.
After a bit of a slow start to the season, the Rams were finally starting to build some momentum under Phillip Cocu and went into the clash at The Valley unbeaten in their previous five matches.
However, they were sent crashing back down to earth by Lee Bowyer’s side, who were the better team from the off and in the end ran out comfortable winners.
Macauley Bonne gave Charlton the lead after just six minutes. Naby Sarr made it 2-0 with a header from a corner three minutes after half-time and Conor Gallagher made it 3-0 with a superb 25-yard strike midway through the second half.
Here are three things we clearly learnt about Derby after their loss at The Valley…
They’re really starting to miss Richard Keogh
Richard Keogh was one of the standout players for Derby in the Championship last season and played almost every minute of every game as the Rams reached the play-off final under Frank Lampard.
The defender has missed the last four matches for the Rams, after he was ruled out for up to 15 months after suffering a serious knee injury in the infamous car accident which saw his teammates Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett charged with drink-driving.
In their first their games without their captain, Derby picked up two wins and also kept a clean sheet against Luton Town.
However, they were all over the place defensively against Charlton and there’s no doubt that they’re really starting to miss the centre-back.
Keogh is more than just a good defender, he’s a big presence on the pitch, a real leader and helps keep Derby organised at the back.
Derby were anything but organised on Saturday though. Jayden Bogle got caught out of position far too many times, Curtis Davies was too slow on too many occasions and Matt Clarke wasn’t much better their.
Cocu was right to question his players’ desire
After the defeat at The Valley, Cocu questioned the energy and desire of his players – and not for the first time this season.
Charlton were by far the better team and thoroughly deserved to win. They played with a relentless energy, desire and ambition that was evident from kick-off. They made things difficult for Derby straight away with their work rate and intensity, and didn’t allow their opponents any time on the ball.
The Derby players just didn’t seem up for it and Cocu was right to question their desire. They looked well off the pace all afternoon and never really got going. Charlton took the lead after just six minutes, and from then on there only ever looked like being one winner.
It wasn’t the first time this season that Cocu has questioned the commitment of his players – he also did after the 3-0 defeat at Brentford in August. They certainly did themselves no favours with their performance on Saturday and they definitely have a point to prove to their manager going into their next few matches.
Will Derby County make the top six this season?
Kelle Roos has to improve
Kelle Roos was one Derby’s standout performers in the second half of last season and played a key role in helping the Rams reach the play-off final. However, the goalkeeper has made a shaky start to the new season.
He seems to be lacking in confidence at the moment and has conceded way too many times in recent games.
Roos has started every Championship game for Derby this season and although he’s kept a couple of clean sheets, he’s conceded 18 goals – he conceded 25 in all competitions in the whole of last season.
He made a couple of fine saves on Saturday and in truth, Charlton would have won even more comfortably if it wasn’t for him, but the fact remains that his performances so far this season haven’t been good enough.
He could do nothing about Gallagher’s spectacular strike, but he was beaten at his near post for the opener, he was all over the place for the second goal from the corner and he didn’t appear comfortable coming for crosses all afternoon.