Savage completes £1.5million move to Derby
Robbie Savage hopes his hatred of losing will rub off on his new Derby team-mates after he completed his move to the Premier League's rock-bottom club for an initial £1.5million today.
Even optimist Savage accepts he has probably exchanged the chance of UEFA Cup football with Blackburn for next season in the Coca-Cola Championship but insists the Rams can fulfil his longer-term ambitions.
The 33-year-old, who has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract, said: 'I've never played in a promotion-winning side and I am sure I will do that at Derby if we do go down this season.
'I have walked away from European football with Blackburn because the manager admitted I might not play as much as I would like. Paul Jewell showed he wanted me and I am delighted to come.'
Jewell's men currently languish 10 points off improbable survival with 16 league defeats and just one solitary victory from their below-par campaign to date.
And Savage admitted: 'I take losing to heart. When I go home after a defeat I don't speak to the wife for the evening. Honestly, I'm terrible. I just love winning football matches.
'But realistically if we can win a few more and go down fighting and not with a whimper, that will count for a lot.
'Obviously it looks like Derby will be playing Championship football next year but there's a way of going down and that will really help us as we regroup for next season wherever we are.'
Boss Jewell is clearly intent on fulfilling his new midfielder's immediate goals with two new players, former Tottenham star Hossam Ghaly and goalkeeper Roy Carroll, poised to sign before Saturday's clash with Wigan.
Ghaly has been at the Rams training ground this week and is awaiting a work permit, while Jewell has admitted making contact with Rangers boss Walter Smith over Carroll in a bid to solve his goalkeeping problems.
Jewell said: 'The chairman has spoken to his agent and Walter Smith and hopefully we can get that one over the line today or tomorrow. If he comes, Roy Carroll is a top-class goalkeeper.'
Like Savage, Jewell admits his side have probably missed their chance at survival but his desire to bring in more new blood following the swoop for former Newcastle star Laurent Robert bodes well.
And Jewell hailed Welshman Savage as just the sort of player he needs to inject more pride and passion back into his beleaguered side - starting against Jewell's former club this weekend.
Jewell said: 'Robbie's reputation as being battling and competitive doesn't do his ability as a footballer justice. He's a really good footballer as well.
'He's enthusiastic, he's a really good player and I'm really pleased to have him here. The reason I've come here is a long-term plan and the same with Robbie.'
Savage earned a notorious reputation amongst Rams fans during his spell with bitter local rivals Leicester but insists he is relishing the challenge of winning his new supporters over.
'I've never been booed by the home fans before and that might happen,' Savage joked. 'But seriously I will give my best and thrive on the challenge. If that is not good enough at the end of the day I will not lose any sleep over it.'