Cocu delighted with first-half display as Derby County edge out Preston North End

Phillip Cocu oversaw another home win for Derby.
Phillip Cocu oversaw another home win for Derby.

Phillip Cocu felt Derby County produced their best half of football so far this season during the 1-0 win over Preston on Saturday.

Martyn Waghorn's goal was enough to secure the Rams' fifth straight home win and end a run of three straight victories for the visitors.

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And Cocu was happy with what he saw, particularly in the first 45 minutes.

He said: "It was one of the best 45 minutes I've seen.

"We executed the tactical game plan very well and the players did what I wanted them to do. We came together as a team and the movement and touches were excellent.

"We could have made it a bit easier if we'd scored the extra goal but the team recognises these situations better now and we didn't force it but kept our organisation. It's important that if we don't score again that we keep the clean sheet so this is a positive development.

"We had to keep our focus as it would have been a shame to draw after a good 60 minutes of football."

Cocu also praised defender Craig Forsyth after he returned following a year out of the game with a serious knee injury - the third of his career.

Having selected him to play at centre-half, Cocu was happy with his display.

He said: "He was fine before the game. We'd used him at his more familiar left-back to get him fitness with the U23s but gave us a good option as a left-sided centre-half today and we've used him there in training.

"We had options to play there but Krystian Bielik, for example, has been developing a good understanding with Graeme Shinnie so I preferred to keep him in midfield."

Derby now head to fourth-placed Fulham on Tuesday night.