Frustrating day for Buxton but he pays tribute to Murray as best striker Rams have faced
JAKE Buxton says Glenn Murray is the best striker Derby County have faced this season.
Murray scored twice to help sink the Rams 3-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday and the Crystal Palace front man now has 15 goals in 14 games.
He gave Buxton and fellow centre-back Richard Keogh a tough afternoon.
"Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say he was a little bit better than me on the day," was Buxton's honest summary.
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But the Rams defender felt Derby gave the Championship leaders a helping hand.
"We played a good side who are in full flow," said Buxton.
"They are playing very well – with momentum and confidence – but at the end of the day they have still got to beat us and we made it a little bit too easy for them.
"We had a bit of a go but they got three goals.
"All of the talk had been about Palace's wingers but Murray is probably the best we've come up against."
Murray is the focal point of Palace's attack, with Wilfried Zaha and Yannik Bolasie in the wide areas.
"Your head's forever in a spin because you're looking for bodies all over the park," added Buxton.
"But my job and Richard's job is to look after Murray. We did well on the deck, we passed the ball well from the back but we didn't do the bread and butter and we didn't win the headers.
"The first goal was a soft one from a corner. We don't think we should've given the corner away, we could have done better and not conceded it. Then Murray peeled off me, I've been blocked off in the box and he has scored.
"We got told beforehand that Murray would spin around the back.
"I got blocked and the referee didn't pick up on any of the blocks from corners.
"They outsmarted me personally and then scored from that.
"On the second goal, Damien Delaney's played a diagonal, Murray's headed it back across goal and their lad (Andre Moritz) has come in and scored.
"On the third goal, Murray picked it up, ran me ragged out on the touchline, came inside and put it in the net."
Much of the talk pre-match was about the threat of Zaha, the 20-year-old Palace starlet who won his first cap for England against Sweden last week.
Buxton thought Derby handled Zaha well.
"He's not for me," he said. "Gareth Roberts kept him in his pocket all game, I thought.
"He (Zaha) has got flair and trickery but the end product? I didn't see any end product.
"In previous weeks, on the Football League Show, you do see it, but we didn't.
"The other lad (Yannick Bolasie) is a threat on the other side, which I thought John Brayford dealt with quite well.
"At the end of the day, I thought Glenn Murray was the difference between us and them."
Buxton returned to the starting 11 for the first time since his red card in the defeat at Peterborough on October 27.
He came in for James O'Connor, one of two changes made. The other saw Michael Jacobs selected on the left and Theo Robinson dropped to the bench.
Buxton said: "The game after my red card, we won 4-1 against Blackpool and the boys, particularly Jimmy O'Connor, played well. Then we beat Barnsley at home 2-0.
"It was tough but you can't change a team after keeping a clean sheet and winning.
"We didn't get a great result at Millwall but it gave me the opportunity to come back in but I'm not very happy with my own performance or the result."