Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Tuesday March 18 2008
Rams skipper back to his best
Love him or hate him Robbie Savage will give you 100% on the pitch, but that hasn`t been the case for the 33-year-old over the past month. The midfielder admits he began to question his own ability before his display in the 1-0 home defeat against Manchester United.
Savage began his Rams career on fire but was left out of the side for the home game against Sunderland, and has struggled for the past month but he appeared to be back to his energetic best on Saturday against Manchester United.
'I was contemplating how I am as a footballer and what has happened,' Savage told BBC Radio Derby.
'People were saying my legs had gone and I couldn't hack it at this level but it's nice to show people I can.'
Savage surprisingly moved to Pride Park from Blackburn in the transfer window at the beginning of the year and was made captain by boss Paul Jewell.
But, by his own admission, he has been nowhere near the top of his game until facing his former club United and was especially thrilled to hear the home fans singing his name against the Premier League champions.
'I owed it to myself, to my family and the fans to put in a performance,' he explained.
'It's taken me a while - it's taken me eight games - but I feel like for the first time in a Derby shirt I've earned by wages.'
Savage says his lack of match fitness played a big part in his below-par performances and he is finally beginning to feel he is getting his sharpness back.
'I wasn't fit when I came here and I've been carrying niggles but the last two games I've felt pain-free and that makes a massive difference to my type of game,' he revealed.
However, the Welsh international conceded that recent criticism had started to get him down.
'When you read stuff saying 'his legs have gone, what did we get him for?' it s get to you,' he said.
'I'm a human being and it's horrible so it's just nice to prove a few people wrong.
'But I've gone out there against one of the best teams in the world and produced a fine performance.'
Derby left Stamford Bridge with their tails between their legs, after 6-1 mauling by Chelsea on and Savage says the fans deserved a reaction from the players against United.
'We were pathetic against Chelsea but to put in a performance like that - against one of the best teams in the world - was a credit to everyone,' Explained Savage.
Date:Tuesday March 18 2008
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|3. Derby County||43||23||9||11||+29||78|
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