Togetherness, desire, passion; those are three qualities that Derby County manager Frank Lampard has identified heading into the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg against Leeds United.
The Rams have displayed their desire and passion over recent weeks to earn a place in the play-offs, and their togetherness throughout the season has also been evident.
With a place at Wembley up for grabs, Lampard believes his players must focus throughout both legs in order to get the right result.
Derby face Leeds at home on Saturday evening (5:15pm kick-off) in the First Leg, before heading to Elland Road for the Second Leg next Wednesday night (7:45pm kick-off).
“The fact that we at home for the first game, we have to focus on ourselves,” he told RamsTV. “We are very aware of Leeds and the team that they are through playing them and studying them.
“Nothing is taken for granted in modern day football so no matter what the first-leg says, the second-leg will be important for both teams for whatever reason. That’s how it should be.
“Togetherness, desire, passion, those words say it all. We need to take them into these two games.”
The Rams head into Saturday’s game in good form.
One defeat in 12 games secured Derby’s sixth-place finish and 15 goals in four games at Pride Park Stadium has been a big plus.
The 3-1 home win against West Bromwich Albion last Sunday secured the play-off position and Lampard felt that performance was up there with one of the best of the season.
“We showed all sides of our game,” he said. “We showed quality on the ball. We showed the resilience and character, fight on the pitch. Winning second balls, tackles. We will need all that and more because that is not something that is just a given.
“We went to Leeds and we lost, we went to Aston Villa and we lost because we didn’t turn up with those basics. Let’s not get over confident, but we do take heart from the fact that West Brom was a game that showed a lot of our good sides and I do believe there is even more.”
In terms of team news, the manager provided an update with doubts surrounding the fitness of Martyn Waghorn and Duane Holmes are they were forced off in the win over West Brom due to injury.
“We are assessing all the players in between games, so there will be players who took knocks to assess,” he commented. “We will see how they are right up until the start of the game as to whether they can start.
“The lads are playing well so I would be a mad man to change 11 players, but at the same time it is good to keep everyone on their toes a little bit.
“In terms of the players we will need the squad. If we are to play three games, we will need impact from not just the 11, we will need impact from much more than that.
“We have seen that this season with George Evans recently and Mason Bennett. My job is to pick the 11 and I will do that, but what is more important to me at the moment is that the whole group now at a critical stage and they are ready to tackle what’s coming.”