Gary Rowett hopes that Derby County will thrive under the pressure when they go head-to-head with Cardiff City in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday night.
Neil Warnock’s side will arrive in the East Midlands knowing that a win will take them to the brink of a return to the Premier League, whilst the Rams can move back into the play-off positions if they avoid defeat.
Derby were backed by a vociferous atmosphere at Pride Park Stadium against Middlesbrough at the weekend, and Rowett wants his side to take their opportunity and reward the loyal support.
He told RamsTV: “There was a lot more endeavour and desire [against Middlesbrough] and I think the crowd appreciated that, they got behind us which was fantastic and the atmosphere was excellent.
“If you look at some of our performances, we have played poorer than we did on Saturday and won the game.
“It’s about how you play your own game when you’re under pressure, and that’s what everybody is facing, whether that’s Cardiff or us.
“It’s important that we produce a very good performance and appreciate the magnitude of the game.
“If the atmosphere is anything like Saturday, it’s going to be a great game. We have a great opportunity and we have to seize the opportunity and perform.”
Rowett altered the shape of his team for the visit of Tony Pulis’ side on Saturday, as he opted to field a back-three for the first time this season.
The Rams’ boss wants to remain flexible and he will continue to select the team shape on a game-by-game basis.
He said: “We have to move on and try something different if the same thing isn’t working.
“With the formation change and the performance, there were positives and we now have to try to build on those.
“You have to assess whether the formation fits the opposition and the way that you want to play.
“We will adjust but there were some positives to the formation and it’s something that we’ll look to do moving forward.”
The Rams went 12 games unbeaten in the league earlier in the season and one of the hallmarks of that run was a solid defensive record.
Rowett wants his side to get back to that solidity and cut out the errors that have undermined recent displays.
He added: “There are fine margins and you have to make sure that you do your job properly for the whole game.
“We have defended well in spells but we have made errors at the wrong time and when you go a goal behind, it is very difficult to come back and win the game.
“We have to make sure that we don’t make those mistakes.
“When we went on a fantastic run, we didn’t make any mistakes and we put in some really polished performances, especially defensively, and we have to get back to doing that.”