Manager Frank Lampard has praised the character of his Derby County side - but says he wants his players to start games better.

Derby have picked up 14 points from losing positions so far this season, which is one of the highest in the Championship.

They fell two goals behind in the games against Norwich City and Southampton recently.

Whilst the Rams managed to pick up maximum points against the Canaries in a thrilling 4-3 victory, and force a replay with the Saints following a 2-2 draw, the manager has challenged his players to improve from the first whistle.

“The character side is a nice thing but at the same time we have to start games better and try and get ourselves in front,” he told RamsTV.

“Games can be on a knife-edge at times and to start well and get a good position in the game is a great thing.

"Character is great, we must keep that in our game, but it must start from the first minute of the game.”

The Rams travel to Elland Road on Friday evening to face Leeds United, where they know a win can take them to within five points of the league leaders.

Lampard’s side suffered defeat against the Whites earlier in the season at Pride Park but the Rams' boss believes his side have evolved a lot since then.

However, he still feels there is much more to come from his side too.

“It always will be a work-in progress,” said Lampard. “There are always steps to improve but it started in the summer and we certainly aren’t at the end of it.

“We are six months in, there has been a lot of hard work done but there is certainly loads more to do. That will continue whatever happens.

“By the time we get to next summer, there will be a next stage, there is room for improvement, there may be a personnel change, so that is ongoing.

“That is the mentality that a club like ours should have throughout, not just the first team, that there is always room for improvement.

“We need to work hard on the training ground, try and keep improving and see if we can stay in the race.”