Gary Rowett was thrilled with Derby County’s attacking display as they secured their place in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs with a comfortable 4-1 victory against Barnsley.
The Rams will now face Fulham in the semi-final first leg at Pride Park Stadium on Friday night, kick-off: 7:45pm, before the return leg at Craven Cottage the following Monday.
Matej Vydra won the Championship Golden Boot after his 21st league goal of the season, whilst Cameron Jerome, David Nugent and Tom Lawrence were also on the scoresheet, and Rowett is delighted with the form of his frontmen.
He told RamsTV: “It showed a lot of bravery to play with the control that we did and to attack with such incision.
“We got the rewards because we had more of an attacking threat, and we attacked with aplomb.
“We could have had more, we had some good opportunities and the goals were all really good.
“The quality of the goals, the awareness of the players involved and the level of the finishing, it shows that our front players are coming into form at the right time.
“Nugent, Jerome, Lawrence and Vyds are all scoring, and Andi [Weimann] looked a threat so I’m really pleased.”
The boss believes that his side have built momentum with their last three results against Cardiff City, Aston Villa and now Barnsley.
He said: “We spoke about it at the start of the season – top-six was our aim.
“It was a difficult afternoon, in some ways, because we are Derby County, everyone will write the stories saying that we don’t handle the pressure, but actually, we handled it really well.
“We wanted to get into the play-offs and you always want some momentum, and the last four performances have shown that.”
Rowett reserved special praise for top-scorer Vydra after the win, but he also highlighted the work that goes on behind the scenes.
On Vydra, he said: “He had a face like thunder when I told him that he wasn’t in the side!
“He’s so exciting and we knew that it would be a horrible thing for Barnsley to face if he came on when they were tired. He’s electric in those positions and he set one up for Nuge as well.
“It’s nice for him to set one up because Nuge has set him up about 15 times this season!
“It’s a fantastic achievement, he’s a great lad and he thoroughly deserves it.”
Rowett added: “It’s a testament to the hard work of the staff, and they don’t get a lot of credit but they have worked tirelessly all season to get our players fit and tactically prepared.”