Phillip Cocu says Derby County must start this weekend’s clash with West Bromwich Albion with the ‘right focus and mentality’.
The Rams will take on Slaven Bilić’s side at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday lunchtime at Pride Park Stadium (12:30pm kick-off).
Cocu was clear in his disappointment with how his side started in their midweek defeat at home to Bristol City.
Former Ram Andreas Weimann struck early on for the Robins, before Josh Brownhill doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time.
That left Derby chasing the game and despite an improved second half showing, which saw Jack Marriott register his first goal of the season, they weren’t able to avoid their first defeat of the campaign.
Cocu has demanded his side avoid a repeat against the Baggies and has called on the Rams to keep their focus from the first whistle.
Speaking to RamsTV, the Derby boss said: “You have to be in the game from the first second and start the game with the right focus and mentality.
“That isn’t something that takes understanding amongst each other, you just have to be ready for the game.
“In midweek we conceded first but we could perhaps turn that around.
“With that, perhaps if we are so focussed and have the home fans behind us we could get an early goal ourselves.
“That way, it could certainly make life easier for yourself without the pressure of being hasty and rushing things instead of having the confidence of winning the game.”
He added: “We want to win every game, of course, and especially for the home crowd you want to put on a good performance and get a positive result.
“We know what we have to do on Saturday.”
Cocu, and his coaching staff, review all matches the following day when the emotion of the outcome has subsided.
While he was disappointed with the defeat, he was also keen to stress he saw a number of positives for his side to build on.
Derby created chances throughout the game but were just lacking a cutting edge in the final third.
He said: “Obviously the disappointment is always big after any game you lose. That is why we always look back at the game the day afterwards without all the emotion.
“There were a lot of positives aspects from our side and we probably deserved more than a 2-1 defeat. We also look at where we can improve and, even watching the game back, I didn’t like our start to the match.
“We had to chase the game from very early on but, as I just said, while we saw areas where we can be better but also good things that we need to take into our game on Saturday.”
Cocu remains convinced his side will only improve as the season unfolds.
Several new players were added to the squad late in the transfer window with Matthew Clarke, Krystian Bielik, Jamie Paterson and Ben Hamer all arriving in early August.
Cocu feels with more time on the training ground and game situations, for all of his players to become more accustomed to his style of play, the Rams will continue to improve.
He said: “We are still not on the top of our game because some players need to fit in.
“An example is Krystian Bielik. He is playing now and has to get to know how we want to play and his team-mates too. It’s the same for Jamie Paterson as well.
“The pieces of the puzzle have to come together. We have an idea of how we want to play but it has to develop and especially if you want to play by being dominant with the ball.
“The pieces have to fit together because against defensive teams it is not easy and the understanding has to be really good.
“We will keep on working over the next couple of weeks and months on this.”