Frank Lampard has called on Derby County’s supporters to ‘take charge’ ahead of a meeting between ‘two great names in English football’.
His side take on Leeds United in the Saturday evening (kick-off: 5:30pm), with both sides looking to retain their 100 per cent record in the Sky Bet Championship. The game will also be Lampard’s first competitive home match in charge of Derby.
The Rams kicked off their 2018/19 campaign with a dramatic 2-1 win over Reading – won in the 94th minute and last kick of the game, thanks to Tom Lawrence’s header.
The feeling of elation naturally took control of anyone related to Derby in the immediate aftermath, Lampard included, but the manager admitted to RamsTV that he levelled out shortly after.
And after analysing the full game again, he feels his side played better on the night than he first thought, but insists he will be looking for improvements.
“That initial moment was the peak,” Lampard recalled. “It felt great and I was delighted for the many fans that travelled down to support us in that game.
“I was pleased for the players and staff too because they worked so hard for that. I levelled out pretty quickly afterwards because I know we can do better.
“On reflection from watching the game back, I think we played better than what I originally thought in real time.
“We were very good during pre-season so, naturally, our expectations were high going into the game.
“At the time, it felt like we weren’t as dynamic or created as many chances, but when I look back we had a lot of control of the game.
“We made a couple of mistakes which allowed them chances to counter-attack us and they gave us the feeling that Reading had a strong first half.
“I still believe, though, that we enjoyed a lot of that first 45 minutes. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of things we can improve on and I will always look back at games and ask myself ‘what can we do better?’”
Leeds are next on the agenda.
Marcelo Bielsa kicked off his own reign as the new boss of the Whites with a 3-1 win over the title-favourites Stoke City at Elland Road.
Those results aside, Lampard is fully aware of the history surrounding both clubs and the rivalry that comes with it, but he wants his players to channel that atmosphere and vibe when they meet this weekend.
“I’m aware of the history,” he said. “I’m aware of our history. I’m aware of the great Leeds teams and I know exactly about the rivalry between these two clubs in those days.
“That will never go away. Chelsea and Leeds have had a similar rivalry over the years and as long as it is channelled in the right way off the pitch, on the pitch, I think we will feel it inside the stadium.
“We’re all here for these kinds of games. We should love that kind of rivalry and hopefully it proves to be uplifting for the players.
“It’s going to be two great names of English football and a game between two sides that I think are very talented.”
He added: “Leeds were very impressive. Under the new manager, they are in a similar situation to us where all eyes are on them to see what’s new and what’s different.
“I think Leeds showed a great amount of energy in their team and they certainly deserved to win that game.
“It was interesting to watch and now they are at our home and we have to make that adrenaline and that home advantage count on our side.”
The Derby boss also feels the Rams faithful will have their own part to play on Saturday.
“I expect the atmosphere to be special, from both sets of fans, but this game is at our home,” he said.
“It’s very important for us take charge and I know our fans will do that. They will be that extra push and I have got no doubt that they are going to be right behind the team from the start of the game to the end of it.”