Derby assistant Liam Rosenior hailed debutants Sam Baldock and Phil Jagielka as the Rams ended their nine-game run without a Championship victory by winning 1-0 at Hull.
Baldock, 32, scored the only goal of the contest in the 57th-minute and ex-England international defender Phil Jagielka, now 39, marshalled the back-line to their first clean sheet in nine contests.
Both players trained with the Rams during pre-season and, with the club going into the MKM Stadium clash with just one point from their opening two fixtures, boss Wayne Rooney handed the pair contracts and was rewarded handsomely.
Rosenior, deputising for Rooney during the post-match duties, said: “They were both outstanding. The pleasing thing from our point of view was that we worked with them in pre-season.
“They know what we want and how we want to play. Jags has obviously played with Wayne and Wayne trusts him and I was fortunate to play with Sam and, even if he’s not scoring, he does the unselfish, horrible stuff.
“Jags is a top-class player and, while people might talk about his age, when you understand the game like he does, it makes a huge difference.
“We were pleased with the result and performance and the boys are adapting to the style and structure that we want to play. We were more incisive than we have been in our previous games this season and had more runners in behind.
“Hull kept pushing but we saw out their aerial threat and that was great, because I thought we deserved to be more than 1-0 ahead. I think there has been a hangover from last season with all of the things surrounding the club, but every single player has worked so hard for us since coming back for pre-season and I think they believe in us and what we want to do.”
Home manager Grant McCann bemoaned his side’s lack of potency in the final third of the field, with Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos only called on to make two saves all night.
McCann said: “We were not ourselves tonight. We were very safe and didn’t pass the ball or break the lines quickly enough.
“We didn’t look threatening and we know that we are. We also know there will be games this season when that happens, but then at the very least you have to come away with a 0-0. We didn’t because we conceded a sloppy goal from a mistake.
“We’ve conceded three other goals this season from mistakes and it’s cost us. We know we won’t have it all our way this season because there are some good teams in this league.
“But we have got a very good group and I want the players to understand that they are, because we’re not here just to make up the numbers.”
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