A bullish Gary Rowett proclaimed he “couldn’t give a monkey’s” if Derby’s display in their 1-0 Easter Monday victory at Preston upset the purists.
The Rams ended their eight-game winless run with a crucial triumph over play-off rivals at Deepdale, and the ends fully justified the means for the Derby manager.
Alan Browne missed a first-half penalty for Preston before Tom Lawrence’s free-kick earned all three points for the Rams, who suffered a galling 4-1 loss to Sunderland on Good Friday.
Rowett said: “I couldn’t give a monkey’s if it didn’t look attractive.
“We tried to look attractive (against Sunderland) and ended up losing to the bottom team in the league.
“Hopefully this will give the players that little bit of breathing space to go and play with a bit more confidence.
“It’s sometimes harder to maintain the players’ belief when you know that you are a team capable of staying up near the top.
“We haven’t been far away but Friday looked as if we were a long way away, so I had to be a bit proactive.
“I had to do something different to see if that brought us a different bit of luck or a different performance.
“I just think psychologically today it was a huge result.
“For us, it didn’t matter how we got it or how ugly the performance was.”