Tom Ince: Derby forward says he felt confident despite a lean run
Derby County winger Tom Ince says he never doubted himself, despite a lean time in front of goal this season.
The 23-year-old had only scored three times this campaign, with his last goal on 3 October, before Tuesday's hat-trick against Bristol City.
"I knew teams were going to shut me out. When we played Wolves, the left-back said the manager told him to man-mark me," Ince told BBC Radio Derby.
"It was difficult after last year and the expectation was to do it again."
The former Liverpool trainee made an instant impact for the Rams last season during a loan spell from Hull City.
He grabbed two goals in a game on three occasions and was part of the Derby side that just missed out on the Championship play-offs.
The Rams then paid £4.75m in the summer to make Ince a permanent addition to the squad.
Tuesday's 4-0 victory against Bristol City saw third-placed Derby close the gap on new Championship leaders Middlesbrough to just two points.
"I never doubted myself but I knew it would difficult, especially at home, when teams would try and shut me out," Ince added.
"I'd be a bad player if people didn't want to mark me. It shows people are scared of what I can do with the football.
"If I am man-marked, then other players are in as well. There are always positives to it.
"I have to take it on the chin, make sure I can find myself space and play as well as I can every week."