We can't start like that and expect to get anything, says John Brayford
JOHN Brayford felt a poor start left Derby County with a mountain to climb against East Midlands rivals Leicester City.
The Rams conceded twice in the opening 22 minutes and it could have been worse.
As it was, Theo Robinson's ninth goal of the season gave Nigel Clough's men a lifeline and the visitors were well in the game until substitute David Nugent struck twice to seal a 4-1 victory.
"You can't start games how we did and expect anything from them," said Brayford.
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"All the lads were up for it – it was just the way we started.
"We conceded one and then another soon after. They came straight at us and it could have been worse after 25 minutes.
"We settled down and came into the game after that but by that time, they'd got their two-goal advantage."
Robinson's 38th-minute strike changed the complexion of the game – if not the final outcome.
"When we scored, the whole atmosphere around the place changed and they got a bit nervy," said Brayford.
"We thought if we could get into half-time at 2-1 and then nick another one in the second half, we could maybe go on to win the game, never mind drawing it.
"It wasn't meant to be and they caught us again to make it three and four.
"Maybe it was harsh on us in the end but it stems from the start of the game and you can't do that at this level.
"You can't get away with it at teams down the bottom, never mind teams towards the top who have spent a lot of money on players.
"If you look at their bench, with the likes of David Nugent, who came on and scored two goals, and someone like Jermaine Beckford, who's out on loan (at Huddersfield Town), it shows their strength in depth.
"We thought we had enough ourselves to deal with that. At times, we played them off the park, even if it sounds dodgy now – for half an hour or 40 minutes, if we'd got another goal, it would've been a different game.
"But they stuck their chances away. They were clinical."
While Derby are unbeaten in six home games, they have lost their last four on the road, conceding 12 goals in the process.
Brayford is hoping they can tighten up at the back going into the Christmas period – particularly away from home.
"I think we've just got to have a bit more determination away from home and start off at 0-0 thinking that's the minimum we've got to come away with," said the former Burton Albion full-back.
"If we get a goal, we get a goal and if we don't, we go away with a 0-0.
"It's having that mental attitude to try to stand up to things that are thrown at us.
"You start with a clean sheet before the you go out and the main thing now is that's the minimum we do on our next away trip."