Clarke: "I'm disappointed for my players""I'm devastated with the result tonight, because we've been on a really good run. And when your run ends, you want it to end in the right way. It didn't end in the right way tonight. We made a mistake, we went down to ten men and it's cost us dearly."
Royals boss Steve Clarke was disappointed after seeing his side lose to a solitary second half goal, paying the penalty for losing a man through a first half red card for striker Orlando Sa.
"I didn't see the incident it and I haven't seen it back yet. But it was a key moment in the game," he said after the game.
"The first half was a good game between two good teams. And I thought we shaded the first half - we looked like the team who were most likely to win it, while Derby came here to keep it tight and not give much away. But the man advantage in the second half made it a different game - it changed the complextion of the match.
"It's difficult to play in the Championshiop 11 versus 11, especially when you are playing against one of the top teams, and Derby are one of the top teams who will be in the top six for sure. So we have to learn from that."
The evening's performance itself was largely encouraging, making the end of a seven-match unbeaten streak more difficult to take. "For long periods tonight, we matched them. Even at 1-0 down, we dug in, we kept going and had a couple of half chances near the end and I thoguht we deserved a little bit more than the result tonight.
"It wasn't an open game, they'd obviously watched us play against Ipswich and it was quite a cagey first half. But we we were the team on the front foot, trying to force the game while it was 11 v 11.
"I'm sure we wouldn't have lost that game tonight if the numbers had been even. The team played some really good football in the first half and you could feel the crowd willing them on, pleased with the way their team was playing.
"So I'm disappointed for the players - they put in a tremendous effort, didn't concede too many chances and always looked a threat going forward.
"I feel a little deflated because I felt the team was in a good moment - but it's up to me to pick myself up overnight and come tomorrow we start working again and get ourselves down to Bristol looking for three points. Tonight is to have the disappointment of the end of a good run. Tomorrow, we look to bounce back."