Andreas Weimann admits it won’t be easy going up against bottom club Burton Albion, but the Rams must pick up the crucial three points as they then must plough through a stacked schedule in what could be a season-defining couple of weeks.
The Rams fell at the hands of Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday night when they were condemned by early goals in each half.
Weimann admitted that the home side were the better team on the night after a superb goal by Reuben Neves doubled the lead gained by Diogo Jota.
“We have to hold our hands up and say they were a lot better than us. They deserve to win the league. They have definitely been the best all year,” he told RamsTV.
“Neves' goal was probably the best I’ve seen on the pitch, unfortunately it was against us, I think even our own fans clapped. There’s nothing you can really do about it, we all just looked at each other and didn’t really know what to do because it was that much of a good strike.”
The Rams swiftly switch from the top of the table to the bottom for a quick trip along the A38 to face Burton Albion on Saturday.
But Weimann knows at this late stage in the season anything could happen as every team has their own agenda. For Burton it’s avoiding relegation, so he understands it certainly won’t be a cakewalk at the Pirelli Stadium.
He added: “It’s a derby game so I’m sure it’s going to be a hectic game and I know they are fighting for their lives so they will be right up for it.
“For us it’s our biggest game - our next game - we obviously want to stay in the play-offs, we are still in there and we want the win. We really need the win.“
“It’s not as easy as that [to walk away with three points], we saw against Sunderland. Against Bolton we managed to get the win and hopefully it will be the same against Burton. All those teams are fighting for their lives to stay in the league, we are fighting to get out the league. So we need the three points, but it’s not going to be easy.”
Leaving Burton with maximum points will be crucial for the Rams who face a stacked schedule over the next two weeks.
Derby remain fifth in the table but in an extremely tight race for a play-off place. Just five points separate Derby from 11th place and three of their final four games come against teams in the thick of the fight.
Following Burton, seventh-placed Middlesbrough travel to Pride Park a week later before third-placed Cardiff arrive on Tuesday for the re-scheduled game. For the penultimate game of the season, Derby travel to fourth-placed Aston Villa. The Austrian international says it could be their defining moment of the season.
Weimann said: “The next three games they are all fighting for promotion as well. That’s going to be a hard week but that’s when we will show we deserve to be there, going against the teams in and around us.
“It’s really tight and there is still a long way to go. Even though there are only five games, it’s still a lot of points and I’m sure a lot of twists – we just need to make sure we stay in there.”
He added: “Playing a home you have the advantage of playing in front of your own fans, but I think if you need to get the points it doesn’t matter if you play at home or away. We know how many wins we need to get there – obviously we want to win all five – but we will see what happens.”