Derby County manager Gary Rowett was delighted with his side's "excellent result" against Aston Villa as they came out 2-0 winners in their Championship match at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams more than deserved their victory after limiting Steve Bruce's side to very few chances throughout the match. Andreas Weimann gave the hosts the lead in the first-half before Johnny Russell sealed the points in injury time with a low strike.
Despite another positive result, Rowett believes that his side can play even better. He said: "It is another game where we are saying the same things. We know we can play better; we know we can have a little bit more control of the ball but it is a good side in Villa."
He added: "We have kept a clean sheet, defended brilliantly and limited space for them at the right times. It is another excellent result."
The Rams make a fast start
Rowett has criticised his side in recent weeks for not starting matches as well as he would have liked. However, the Rams certainly made a fast start against Villa and had a number of good opportunities early on in the match.
Rowett said: "It is probably the best start we have had all season. We had some really good moments. That was something we wanted to do, physically pin them back early."
He added: "(In the second-half) we allowed Villa too much control at times. We lacked a little bit of energy and our decision making was not great at times. I think (Scott) Carson has had about one save to make."
The 43-year-old manager was also delighted with the performance of Weimann who certainly enjoyed finding the back of the net against his former employers. He said: "Andy (Weimann) has had to readjust his feet; it was not an easy finish when you watch it back. I am sure he will be really pleased scoring against his old team."
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Strength in depth at Pride Park
This result means that the Rams have now kept five clean sheets in their last six league outings as they continue to surge up the league table. Rowett is pleased with this statistic but wants his side to play slightly better football whilst still maintaining their results in the coming weeks.
He said: "You cannot keep winning games and not be playing well. Sometimes you have got to defend resolutely. That is the type of attitude we have got. That is a big part of the game, particularly when you go 1-0 up in this division."
He added: "It is nice to keep winning games. I have not once mentioned to the players anything other than the next game."
The Rams are now among the favourites to get promoted from the division come next May. Rowett feels that the strength in depth in his squad is one of the main reasons behind why they have got as good a chance as anyone of securing promotion to the Premier League this season.
He said: "It is the first club I have been at where the competition for places is really fierce. I think we have utilised that quite well. When we have given people an opportunity, they have got to keep that opportunity."
Time to push on over Christmas period
Rowett revealed that he allowed his players to all go on a night out following their 3-0 win over Barnsley last weekend but believes it is important that they now really push on over the Christmas period to keep the pressure on the top two.
He said: "We let them have a night out after last weekend and one or two of the older ones certainly probably have not been out for a while and looked like they were struggling physically."
He added: "They have had their bit of fun because the results have been fantastic but what we now need to do is recover really well for this intense batch of games that is coming up."
The Rams are currently sat 10 points behind league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers and six points behind second-placed Cardiff City. Rowett feels that the Bluebirds can be caught if his side can continue their good run of form over Christmas.
He said: "I am not really bothered because that is something I cannot control. If they (Wolves) maintain their form they are due for about 105 points. All anyone else can do is keep putting pressure. I look at Cardiff in second place and once again by winning today we put a little bit of pressure on."
One boost for the Rams is that forward Tom Lawrence could be fit enough to play a part in next weekend's game against Millwall after missing the clash with Villa through injury. Rowett said that he is "hoping that he won't be a million miles away for next week."