Manager Frank Lampard has challenged Derby County's players to carry the momentum from recent games into a busy couple of weeks for the Rams.
Today’s 2-0 home victory against Hull City ensured Lampard’s side extended their unbeaten run to five games, which have included four victories in all competitions.
Martyn Waghorn’s brace sealed today’s win at Pride Park and it turned out to be a comfortable afternoon for the Rams before a crowd of just over 28,000.
The manager was delighted to pick up the three points and hopes his players can use the victory as a springboard.
“We knew it would be a tough game,” Lampard told RamsTV. “Hull are on great form and have beaten a lot of top teams in their run, particularly away from home with their style and pace they have on the break.
“To keep a clean sheet against them is one thing and then to go and get two goals, which were well taken by Martyn Waghorn, wins us the game today.
“It was an important win considering what’s going on around us with some teams playing against each other. We are on a decent run of form ourselves and we have to go again.
“I’ve watched a lot of Hull and they are winning games on merit with good players in their team. They can hurt you in attacking areas so to keep a clean sheet is all credit to us.
“The lads were focused today and they knew the job they had to do at this stage of the season. A win is more important than the performance, we want both but we got the win today. In the end, to see out the game felt comfortable.
“We are on a run now of a few wins and a draw last game at Preston. We beat Reading and won games in the cup so a winning mentality is everything. It starts every day, when they are at the training ground or at home. We have to build some momentum now and it’s up to us.”
Waghorn’s first strike of the afternoon was a landmark as it was his 100th career goal and the manager heaped praise on the forward.
“Credit to him,” Lampard said.
“That’s a lot of goals and he has had a good career. You got a small snippet of what he is about today; work rate, desire, quality and finishing. He has done that wherever he has gone and we are delighted to have him here.
“There is a lot of technique in his first goal. The goalkeeper smothers the first chance but the ball comes out of the sky and it’s not easy. He has great technique with volleys and shots and he needed it. It was a great pass from Duane and a great finish from Martyn.”
Waghorn has been utilised mainly from the wing this season, but this afternoon he led the line and offered a different option in attack.
“He knows he can do both and it’s a great option for me to play him there,” Lampard commented.
“Since he came in, I’m asking different things of what he would have been asked at Ipswich last season but he has given everything on the right-hand side and getting goals for us. Then seeing him play up front shows he is versatile and that is good for us.”
Two players who made their debuts this afternoon were January signings Andy King and Ashley Cole.
The pair received great ovations from the supporters as they came off the bench late on and Lampard was pleased with their contributions.
“I thought Andy King looked very composed,” he said. “It was good in that period of the game to come on and show that experience.
“He is going to get better and better with fitness, he is a top quality player anyway, and I was delighted to get Ashley on the pitch.
“At 2-0 it is a dangerous result to look like you are making too many changes, particularly when it is Ashley, but I’m delighted for the fans that they got to see him. We will be seeing more of him, of course.”
It’s a busy week coming up for Lampard’s side this week as they face two long trips to Ipswich Town in the league on Wednesday and then Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup next Saturday.
“I said to the players that they can have a rest tomorrow completely but we have to be ready,” the manager explained. “Now it’s a case of how professional can we be, and how ruthless can we be about this busy fixture list.
“We have to live right, perform right, train right, prepare and rest right, and try and keep picking up wins.”