(Reuters) - Derby County's 4-0 thrashing of Birmingham City on Tuesday not only lifted them out of the Championship's bottom three, for caretaker manager Wayne Rooney it was a sign the players are starting to believe in themselves.
Player-coach Rooney was initially assisted by Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker following the sacking of Dutchman Phillip Cocu last month before he took sole charge of the side for the visit of Wycombe Wanderers on Nov. 28.
Derby have had three wins, four draws and a defeat since Rooney took over and he said he was delighted for the players after Tuesday's win.
"That performance has been coming over the last few weeks," he told reporters. "I'm starting to see a team that believe in themselves. They've been putting in good performances.
"People say it would be a psychological boost to get out of the bottom of the three, but I had said after the last game that I wasn't worried.
"We've got a lot of quality in the squad and with January coming up, and a few players coming in, hopefully, to iron out some of the cracks and take us to that next level."
Derby are 20th in the 24-team league and next face Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)