Derby manager Paul Warne praised his players’ character as they recovered from a “disgusting” first-half performance to win 2-1 at Newport in the FA Cup second round.
The Rams deservedly trailed their Sky Bet League Two opposition at half-time following Priestley Farquharson’s 41st-minute header for the Exiles.
But Derby were transformed after the break and were level within nine minutes through Louie Sibley, before David McGoldrick headed the winner in the 88th minute.
“Our first-half performance was disgusting,” said Warne. “It just wasn’t us and it’s a good warning sign, but they showed they have got it in them to dig in and go again and win.
“We came here as the favourites and we played like the underdogs, but the second half was a completely different game.
“It was chalk and cheese. We could have won at a canter in the end. I thought we thoroughly deserved our win.”
Warne claimed Sibley’s second-half showing typified the Rams’ improvement.
“I told them a few home truths at half-time,” he added. “I felt the first half was old Derby and the second half was new Derby.
“Sibs was honking in the first half, but I could say that about all 11. I’m not digging him out, I thought they were all pretty poor.
“I thought at times we were trying to be too clever around the box, I was screaming at them to get it in the box and it was a good ball in from Sibs and a great header that won it for us in the end.”
Newport boss Graham Coughlan said his players were disappointed to miss out on another famous cup upset at Rodney Parade.
“It’s an opportunity missed,” said the Exiles boss. “We had chances galore but ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’ don’t win football games.
“Putting the ball in the net and keeping it out at the other end wins football games and we didn’t do that today.
“The lads are naturally disappointed. They pushed a really top team really hard, and I thought their work-rate, their attitude and commitment were absolutely immense.
“We had some great chances, but we’ve fallen asleep at key moments in the game and made a couple of errors.
“But if they keep playing like that then the future should be bright for this group of players.”
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