Gary Rowett is looking for Derby County to channel the same desire and bravery shown in the victory over Cardiff City when they face Aston Villa this weekend.
The trip to Villa Park will produce another crucial match for the Rams in the penultimate game of the season. Leaving the West Midlands with the points will give a tremendous boost to the team and their hopes of securing a Sky Bet Championship play-off spot.
However, Villa, currently in fourth place, can promise to put up a fight for valuable points, especially since they are still in with a shout of automatic promotion. Rowett is prepared for another physical battle with the hope of wearing them down, as was the case against the Bluebirds.
“It’s a tough place to go and we know that it’s not going to be an easy game. They’re a very good side and very experienced like ourselves,” Rowett told RamsTV.
“They have some great individual players and we are going to have to be incredibly physical and make sure that we don’t allow them space.
“In my opinion, when [Jack] Grealish plays well, Villa play well. He really has been a catalyst for their best performances.”
However, Rowett’s only focus is on drawing out the best from his squad to recreate the courageous and determined performance shown against Cardiff.
“We’re not worried about the opposition, we’ll be respectful but we know that when we’re on the top of our game, we can beat anyone.
“Having put so much effort in on Tuesday night, the challenge will be to do the same again.”
The Rams dismantled Cardiff in the final 20 minutes on Tuesday night after Cameron Jerome equalised on the night. The 3-1 win came at a vital time to lift Derby back into the top-six following three consecutive defeats.
Despite going a goal down in the first-half, Derby’s fight didn’t waiver and their persistence finally paid off when Matej Vydra gave them the lead before Jerome sealed the points by completing his brace.
Rowett said the excitement that echoed around the stadium reflected in the performance on the pitch to help muster up an exciting night.
“The effort, the energy levels and the performance showed everything that we’re looking for at this stage of the season,” he said.
“The crowd really got behind the players and that really galvanized them, it was just a terrific evening.
“It was a pleasure to be stood on the touchline and feel everybody trying to achieve something together, and Pride Park is a powerful place to be when that happens.
“The players started on the front foot with a desire to win that game because of everything that had happened, and they certainly proved a lot of people wrong.”
With two games remaining and six points up for grabs, just six points separate fifth and 11th place. With so much still to play for, for so many teams, Derby understand that they have little room for error.
He added: “Our main focus is what we do. We can’t worry about other teams, we have two massive games and we believe that it will go down to the wire.
“At one stage of the season we were probably hoping that it wouldn’t be as exciting, but we are in the mix and we have worked incredibly hard this season.
“We are still in with a chance of achieving something at the end of the season.”