Curtis Davies: Derby lacked 'heart and desire' in loss to Burton Albion
Derby County lacked heart in the defeat against bottom-of-the-table Burton Albion and risk being torn apart if they do not improve, according to centre-half Curtis Davies.
The Rams dropped out of the play-off places to seventh in the Championship table after Saturday's 3-1 loss.
But they will go fifth if they win the game in hand they have on fifth-placed Middlesbrough and Millwall, in sixth.
Davies told BBC Radio Derby losing to Burton was a "massive backwards step".
"It was nothing to do with quality or ability, it was probably heart and desire and we lacked massively with that," the 33-year-old added.
"We didn't deserve to get anything out of the game."
The Rams dropped out of the top six for the first time in 144 days and now face successive games against promotion rivals Boro, Cardiff and Aston Villa.
"We are playing our direct opponents," said the former West Brom, Villa, Birmingham and Hull City defender.
"If we play anything like we did against Burton, teams with the quality of Middlesbrough, Cardiff and Aston Villa will tear us apart. It's not good enough.
"It was always going to be a big week but now it's make or break."
Derby have won just five of their 17 league matches in 2018, with boss Gary Rowett describing the recent home defeat against Sunderland as "probably the worst 90 minutes" in his time as a manager.
But Davies said the squad has to "stick together".
"We need a reaction," he said.
"We will have no excuses about pitches, quality of football and style. We just have to go out and do a number on someone.
"We played against Preston and it was an ugly game, a horrible game of football but we won 1-0. Against Bolton it was pretty comfortable so we never really had to work too hard to get going."
Meanwhile, utility player Jamie Hanson has signed a two-year contract at Pride Park.
The 22-year-old academy graduate has only made four appearances during an injury hit season, but has played a total of 31 times for the Rams.
Rowett told the club website: "He was very unfortunate to suffer an injury earlier in the season, but he has fought back to get himself fit and back into the fold."