Derby County defender Curtis Davies has admitted that failing to reach the playoffs with the Rams this season would be one of the biggest disappointments of his career.
The Rams slumped to another defeat on Saturday afternoon as they were brushed aside by Gary Rowett's former club Burton Albion 3-1 at the Pirelli Stadium. It meant that the Midlands outfit dropped out of the playoff positions for the first time since November.
'We need to get ourselves going'
Talking after the game, Davies' disappointment was clear. He said: "Dropping out this year, this is my biggest disappointment. I’ve had relegations, I’ve had losses in cup finals. From the position we were in this year, this would be the biggest disappointment of my career if we don’t make it. We need to get ourselves going."
Gary Rowett's men were second in the league table as recently as early February. A run of three wins in their last 13 Championship games has seen the Rams' season capitulate, and their chances of promotion to the Premier League fade.
Davies' suggests that the fact that the Rams were in prime position to earn promotion makes their recent form even harder to accept.
The 33-year-old said: "We’ve been second in this league. We were second for a long time. To drop out with four games to go would be terrible."
'We didn't deserve anything'
Derby put on a poor showing at the weekend as Liam Boyce, Luke Murphy and Lucas Akins scored the goals to earn Burton Albion a huge victory.
Davies was under no illusions that the performance was not good enough if the Rams are to assemble a challenge for promotion.
He said: "It’s just disappointing. Burton are fighting. They gave everything, they gave 200% at times and any 50/50, they were on to it.
"We didn’t deserve to get anything out of that game,
"Today was just another backwards step. It is now make or break. We need to find some consistency from somewhere."
The former Aston Villa defender further implied that Derby's downfall was not due to the quality in their squad but rather at their lack of desire, and that was clear against Burton at the Pirelli Stadium.
Davies said: "It’s nothing to do with quality. It’s nothing to do with ability. It was probably heart and desire and we lacked massively with that. It’s hard to put your finger on because we went 1-0 down, got a goal back and we had a bit of a spring in our step but the reaction after going 2-1 down just before half-time, we never really got going."