It was an East Midlands derby to remember for Gary Rowett, whose side ran out 2-0 victors at Pride Park on Sunday.
It took just 24 seconds for Derby to break the deadlock— Matej Vydra’s left-footed effort sent Pride Park into ecstasy as many were still finding their seats.
Rowett explained: “In games like this [against Nottingham Forest] there are always moments that stand out and turn the game in your favour.
“We wanted to start well, but I didn’t think we would start quite so well.”
The Czech Republic striker has an emphatic record against Nottingham Forest, although Rowett said that was not a factor when selecting his starting side.
The manager sung his forward’s praises after the match.
“He’s got everything to become in the best ten in the division,” said Rowett.
“Both his feet are fantastic — he can run, he’s quick, he’s powerful and he showed all that ability with that first goal.”
There have also been positives at the other end of the pitch for the Rams in recent games. Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley didn’t let his recent international disappointment affect him, being at the forefront of Derby’s success in the local derby.
Rowett said: “I think Joe has really helped us since joining. There’s no coincidence that we very nearly kept a clean sheet at Brentford and looked really strong defensively. We went to Cardiff and also looked strong defensively as well as today and Joe has been a big part of that.”
The statistics rather contradict the scoreline of the match, with Forest having plenty more chances and possession.
“Forest are a good side. Mark [Warburton] gets them passing the ball really well and at times if you don’t press them early they can get it out from defence and it becomes difficult to get close.,” said Rowett.
“We maybe haven’t passed the ball as well at them today but I think we made the better chances.”
Beating their local rivals is always a huge moment in the season for the Rams’ fans, as Rowett highlighted.
“It means everything. It’s all people have spoken about to me. Forget the season, you have to beat Forest,” he said.
“It adds extra pressure when I have lived in the area for so long. I have been recluse for the past four days. I do not think I have left my house, everybody has had to come round.”
Derby now leapfrogged Forest in the league standings as a result of Sunday’s victory.