Gary Rowett has backed Derby County to be fearless when they travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the FA Cup Third Round.
The Rams were drawn against Jose Mourinho’s side on Monday night as Premier League and Championship clubs entered the mix of the world’s oldest club competition.
Rowett highlighted the experience within his squad and he doesn’t expect his players to be star-struck by their opponents when they step out at the Theatre of Dreams.
“We can go there with no fear of what the game is going to hold for us,” he told RamsTV.
“It’s not as if we’re a League Two side playing at Old Trafford, most of our players will have played at that level before.
“It will be a fantastic game for us, I don’t like the word ‘occasion’ because it sounds like we’re just going there to enjoy ourselves.”
United are currently second in the Premier League behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, with Mourinho’s side also having all-but-secured their passage to the next stage of the UEFA Champions League.
Rowett is set to go up against Mourinho for the first time in his career, and the Derby boss is looking forward to a ‘different’ type of game compared to what his side face in the Sky Bet Championship on a weekly basis.
He said: “I don’t think that anybody wanted a Championship tie because that’s what we get every week, and sometimes if you draw a non-league side then it can be an awful lot of pressure.
“It will be a good test for us, they’re one of the top teams in the country at the moment, they’ve got some unbelievable individuals and obviously a fantastic manager.
“If I compare my wits to Jose Mourinho, it would be a pretty sad state of affairs.
“Even if they make a lot of changes, there will still be some amazing players and it will also be a different tactical test.”
The current Rams boss was a member of the playing staff when Derby beat United 3-2 at Old Trafford in 1997, although Rowett doesn’t have happy memories of the afternoon.
He added: “My thoughts turned to that game where Paulo Wanchope scored the winner, it was one of the only games that I missed that season so I whenever I see the replay it galls me!”