Derby County’s 2020/21 season got off to the worst possible start at the weekend, as they were beaten at home to Reading by two goals to nil.
Lucas Joao opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the first-half, before he turned provider with an expertly-placed back-heel for Ovie Ejaria, who finished clinically from a tight angle to double Reading’s lead.
Derby failed to create a notable chance against the Berkshire-based side, and Phillip Cocu will know that there is plenty of room for improvement going forward.
The Rams are set to take on Preston North End in the second round of the EFL Cup, before facing Luton Town at Kenilworth Road in their next league match.
We take a look at THREE things we learnt about Derby after this frustrating defeat to Reading at the weekend.
Possession isn’t everything.
Derby had 58% of possession against Reading on Saturday, but failed to create a notable chance.
The visitors took the chances that came their way though, and were good value for the three points on the day, as they pulled off a somewhat surprising win.
Phillip Cocu needs to make sure that his side can turn this possession into goals in the future, otherwise they’ll struggle to mount a serious push for the top-six.
Nathan Byrne looked bright on his debut.
Byrne signed for Derby from Wigan earlier in the week, and made his debut for the Rams, as he replaced Andre Wisdom at half-time.
He looked bright in the second-half for the Rams, and will be eager to build on this performance heading into their next match against Preston North End in midweek.
They struggled to deal with Lucas Joao throughout the match.
Joao spent a number of months injured with Reading last season, but is showing his quality already when he’s fully-fit.
The forward caused the likes of Matt Clarke a number of problems throughout the match on Saturday with his strength and trickery on the ball.
He also scored the opener, and assisted the second goal, and Derby need to find a way of nullifying the threat posed from strikers similar to Joao in future weeks.