Manager Frank Lampard is expecting a reaction from his players on Monday night as the Rams travel to the City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest in the East Midlands derby.
The Rams missed the opportunity to move back into the play-off positions on Wednesday night as they were beaten 1-0 by Millwall at Pride Park Stadium in a rare home defeat.
However, the Rams remain four points ahead of their rivals heading into Monday’s encounter and Lampard is hoping his players will show a resposne to the disappointment of Wednesday night.
“I thought it was a difficult game [against Milwall],” he told RamsTV. “I’ve watched it back and with hindsight, Millwall came to make it difficult for us and we allowed that a bit.
“I’m more disappointed about our performance against Ipswich Town to be honest in the 1-1 draw last week.
"I thought Millwall was difficult. We could have done more in the final third with our decision-making, that final pass or a pass crucial to breaking the line to get us up the pitch.
“A reaction would be good on Monday and what better game to not need any motivation than against Nottingham Forest.
“We always talk and I am very open with the players. We have had a meeting already and this is by no means a crisis. This is a week where we have had below some par performances, so it is important to address it but with the right context.
“We have spoken about the last three games. The players aren’t stupid, they want to do well here and they know they weren’t our best games and now it is in their hands to go out and play, not just against Nottingham Forest, but all the games coming up. They are so important for us.”
There are many highs and lows in a league season.
Whilst Wednesday night was disappointing, the Rams still find themselves in a good position in the table with only 14 games remaining and have a chance to finish the season in the Sky Bet Championship's top six.
“The basics remain the same,” he said. “When you are playing well you need to work hard to stay the same, when you aren’t playing so well you need to drag yourself out of it.
“That is an individual thing before it becomes collective. I have got no huge concerns, I just want us to win games. Coming into this job I knew, and the players know, what the Championship is like.
“It is not a smooth ride for any team and if you are not big enough to accept little periods that are difficult and turn them around then that is what will define you, not so much the period itself because every team will have them.”
With Lampard’s side playing on Monday evening, all Championship fixtures will have played before the Rams and Forest kick off.
Asked whether that is a good thing, Lampard replied: “Our game is all I am focused on at work, but of course over the weekend we will be aware of the other results as we are weekly.
“It doesn’t make any odds to this game. What will make or break us going forward is how many games we win.
“There are 14 games and if we can put together enough of a run then it will be in our hands, if we can’t then it will be very difficult. We can’t look elsewhere, we start with ourselves and we start Monday night.”