Derby County manager Phillip Cocu told his players he is proud of their efforts to match Cardiff City physically while remaining keen to get the ball down and play, RamsTV report.

Derby and Cardiff shared the spoils at Pride Park on Friday night following a 1-1 draw.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images).

Scott Malone gave the Rams an early lead after a close-range finish. However, the Bluebirds equalised midway through the first half from the penalty spot.

Derby pushed for a winner, but ultimately had to settle for a draw. Cocu, nevertheless, was proud of his team’s efforts and let his players know at the fulltime whistle.

We had to deal with a team who doesn’t really want to play. They are extremely direct, so we have to be physical. I told the boys after the game that I’m proud of the way we fought them and how we tried to play as much as possible to get the ball down. We created good chances and showed a good reaction after the Brentford game.

Cardiff are among the favourites for promotion back to the Premier League following their relegation last season. You know what you get against Neil Warnock’s side.

The Bluebirds, marshalled at the back by Sean Morrison and 6ft 6inch Aden Flint, are a tall, powerful side. They are a threat at set-pieces, and they know how to out-muscle their opponents.

But Derby gave it as good as they got in the physical battle. Max Lowe produced the most tackles on the pitch with five, while Krystian Bielik won 13 aerial winners.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images).

The Rams had a lot of young players out there. Despite not winning, there are positive signs and it seems a good run of Championship form and positive results is just around the corner.

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