Derby County boss Wayne Rooney told RamsTV how his side fought for every ball and put in a much more energetic display despite losing to Birmingham City.

The Rams suffered a fifth straight Championship defeat at the hands of Birmingham.

Derby took a 1-0 lead into the half-time interval thanks to Colin Kazim-Richards’ close-range finish, but two headers from Lukas Jutkiewicz completed the Blues turnaround.

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Wayne Rooney’s side managed just seven attempts on goal throughout.

But Rooney says he was pleased with his side’s battling spirit, while claiming the desire and energy levels were much improved from the midweek defeat at Preston North End.

“I wanted to get two up top and bodies in the middle of the pitch for second balls which I thought the lads had done well. On Tuesday, I was very disappointed with the lack of energy and fight in the team. Today, I can’t say that. I thought the lads fought for every ball, they gave everything to try and get the win. Unfortunately, two lapses in concentration have cost us,” Rooney explained.

Defeat leaves Derby four points above the drop zone with two games remaining.

Rotherham United can still leapfrog the Rams if they win their two games in hand, but the Millers also suffered another damaging defeat at Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.

Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, remain four points adrift of Derby and face the Rams in the final game of the season at Pride Park. It could be a shootout for survival.

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A run of just one win in 13 games has seen Derby crumble.

It’s difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel, but Rooney is evidently trying to remain positive and give the players belief they can preserve their Championship status.

Also see: Simon Jordan reiterates Rooney stance, advises Derby to change manager this summer

Also see: Manager comments on future of 20-goal Derby target who can leave for free this summer

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