Paul Warne is focusing only on Derby after climbing into League One top two

By Sports Desk March 09, 2024

Paul Warne brushed off his Derby side moving back into the top two of Sky Bet League One after a convincing 3-0 win at Bristol Rovers.

The Rams boss explained that if his team keep winning, following the club’s sixth victory in their last nine games, then they need not worry about what any of their promotion rivals are doing.

Dwight Gayle opened the scoring in the 55th minute, bundling in after Tom Barkhuizen’s shot had hit the crossbar and bounced on the goal-line.

Barkhuizen guided in a first-time effort from a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing pass to double their lead before substitute Martyn Waghorn made sure of the result when he poked in from close range in the 89th minute.

“We just keep saying to the lads ‘don’t look at the league table, just keep playing your best football for 10 games and see where we’re at’,” said Warne.

“Everything matters – I’ve said that from day one. I was talking to the lads today that it’s 250 days since we started this campaign and the pre-season, and everything matters, every tackle you make, every tackle you miss.”

Warne’s side have now won back-to-back league games 3-0 and his side may be finding form at the right time. The former Rotherham boss is eager for his side to find yet more consistency.

“You’ve just got to be bang on the money if you’re going to be successful and today this performance is already over,” he added.

“I want the lads to enjoy it for about half an hour, but then we’ve got to do it again Tuesday and then again Saturday. You’ve got to be relentless.

“My only slight criticism is that at times today we let them off the hook where we could have really finished them off. But I’m really pleased with the goals and the clean sheet.”

Bristol Rovers counterpart Matt Taylor recognised the quality of the opposition, hailing Derby as the best team in the division before the match.

Afterwards, the Rovers boss was particularly unhappy with how his side dealt with dead-ball situations.

“Set-pieces were frustrating as we’ve got a couple of first contacts on the long throw and the corner [that led to the opening goal] and got there first, but if we get there second then it’s more of a scramble. We have to be better.

“The next two [goals] come when we’re in possession of the ball and the third is when we’re really chasing the game. But that was a little bit of a reflection of us today. Our ball use wasn’t good enough today.

“In terms of the individual aspects they ‘manned’ the game today – they taught us a lesson in how to manage the game and how to manipulate certain situations.”

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