Jeff Hendrick on target again but he admits Derby County did not create enough chances
JEFF Hendrick netted his third goal in three games but admitted Derby County did not create enough chances to take something from the game against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Rams were beaten 2-1 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
Brighton took the lead inside 90 seconds through Ashley Barnes and Andrea Orlandi headed a second after 25 minutes.
Hendrick maintained his 100% scoring record in games in 2013 by pulling a goal back 20 minutes from time but Nigel Clough's men could not force an equaliser.
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"It's always nice to get on the scoresheet but it would have been even nicer if we'd got another goal," said the Irish midfielder.
"We put them under a lot of pressure, forced a few corners and got a few shots away but we just didn't test their keeper as much as we'd have liked to.
"You always get a bit of hope when you're only one goal behind, especially when we were putting them under a good bit of pressure but we just couldn't break them down in the end.
"I thought they were very compact in front of the 18 yard box. We created a bit but not too many out-and-out chances.
"We've been getting more shots and crosses in lately but it just didn't happen for us here."
Barnes' early opener allowed Brighton to settle and left Derby facing an uphill struggle.
"It was disappointing to concede a goal so early, especially against a team like that who pass the ball for fun," said Hendrick.
"That's just what they wanted as it allowed them to play their own game.
"In the first half, they had a lot of the ball and we were chasing shadows at times.
"It took us a while to get into them and put them under a bit of pressure but I thought that towards the end of the first half, we were doing that and starting to create a little bit more.
"Obviously, to go in at half-time two goals down was bad but I thought we played a lot better in the second half."
Clough, still without key man Craig Bryson due to injury, opted to moved full-back John Brayford into an advanced central midfield role in a bid to close down Brighton's highly-rated Liam Bridcutt, while also providing support to lone front man Conor Sammon.
"Bray has got a lot of energy," said Hendrick. "You can see that when he's at right-back – he gets up and down a lot.
"We thought he could get in amongst people and they wouldn't be ready for it. On the whole, I thought it worked well.
"Once we got into the game, we passed and moved the ball well.
"It was just a sloppy start that cost us."
While defeat ended Derby's winning start to the year, Brighton have now won all three matches so far in 2013, having knocked Premier League Newcastle United out of the FA Cup seven days earlier.
Hendrick added: "We had to try to put them under pressure and not let them play it out from the back as much as they like.
"We watched their FA Cup game and Newcastle didn't put them under that much pressure.
"That gave them time to play and when you give a team like that time to play, they will hurt you – and that's what they did to us.
"They are a hard team to beat and they know what to do when they get in front.
"They've got some experienced players and, even when we came back into it, they were sensible and did well to see the game out."