Frank Lampard knows he will need to manage his Derby County players correctly in order to get the best out of them as they head into the final 15 games of the Sky Bet Championship season.
The Rams exited the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday following defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion and all of the Rams' attention now turns to the league campaign.
Lampard’s side have played the most games out of all Championship teams this season across all competitions with the clash against Millwall on Wednesday night being the Rams’ 40th game of the season.
That means the boss will need to ensure his players are in peak condition heading into important matches, starting with tomorrow night’s encounter against the Lions.
“I think we have played second most games to Manchester City in all the leagues,” Lampard told RamsTV. “They played on Saturday night and went one ahead of us. That shows you the amount of games and what you have to deal with - and Manchester City have a really big squad of players.
“We also have to use the squad in a busy week, like we did last week. You see the injuries that we have.
"In some areas in the team we don’t have anyone to call upon in the first team squad because of injuries and in others we do, so that is my job to manage that in terms of minutes and training.
“I don’t like excuses, it is just something that we have to do and we have been pretty successful to play that many games. Now the cups are out of the way it is easier to focus entirely on the schedule ahead in terms of the league.
“It’s really simple; we need to be at our best and if we can do that in the Championship then we have a great chance.”
It’s important for the manager to have options at this stage of the season.
One of those reinforcements signed in January was left-back Ashley Cole.
The 38-year-old defender played the second 45 minutes on Saturday in the FA Cup tie against Brighton & Hove Albion and scored in the final stages of the 2-1 defeat.
“His match fitness was the issue so individually it worked out perfectly for Ash at the weekend to get 45 minutes,” Lampard said.
“He will get better, but you know what you are getting with Ash and you know the quality and the knowledge of the role, the professionalism and the effect he has on everyone in the team.
“He showed that when he came on and got his goal. I am delighted with his minutes and we will need Ashley in the games ahead.”
The Rams know a victory tomorrow will put them back in the play-off positions but the manager is keen for his side to remain grounded and focused.
“What always remains is the basics have to be there for a good performance,” he commented. “The urgency, the desire and the will to fight against all odds.
“The players all have that, and it isn’t always as simple as that but if we can put that together for 15 games then I have a real confidence in this squad.”