Manager Phillip Cocu believes the international break has been positive for his Derby County side as they return to Sky Bet Championship action against Cardiff City on Friday night.
The Rams have had just under a fortnight to prepare for the clash against the Bluebirds following the first international break of the campaign and the manager has used that time to get some valuable minutes on the training ground with his players.
With preparations almost complete, the manager is in a positive mood heading into the encounter against the Bluebirds at Pride Park Stadium.
“From Monday morning we started training, some players came back from international games and all eyes were on the Friday game,” he told RamsTV.
“We have had some time to have with players in individual meetings about their development and the way they play. It was very useful.
“You have to adapt a little bit with some players on international duty, but there are still a lot of players here in training. We look back on the games they played, what we want to achieve as a team and how we want to play.
“We can work on an individual basis in this period as there is more time for it, so it was very useful.
“We had the weekend off so the players could get their minds off football a little bit and you notice when we got back on Monday, everyone is fresh and full of ambition, so it is very positive.”
All of Derby's international players have returned in good condition ahead of Friday’s game.
“Krystian Bielik played 90 minutes in Poland's second game against Austria and came on in the first one against Slovenia,” Cocu said.
“It was a good result for Richard Keogh too with Ireland as they drew with Switzerland. Everyone came back after duty with their international team or after the break with a good feeling and ambition to start again.
“We don’t look back too much, we did that already, and now we have to look forward. We must proceed ahead full of energy in the next couple of games.
“We have three this month then five in October, so we have important games coming up.”
Positivity is certainly the message from Cocu and the manager is keen to look forward.
Derby are looking for their first league win since the opening game of the season, having drawn three and lost two of their five league fixtures since.
“We cannot be satisfied, definitely not with the Brentford game when we lost 3-0 two weeks ago, but sometimes they need a break, they need to be fair to themselves when they perform like they did, perform as a team and to our fans and the club,” he commented.
“If you have a break you can reflect, have some distance from football, but also it means if you come back on the Monday that is forgotten and it is ‘ok, which games are coming up?’
“We have the Cardiff game, then Leeds coming up and then Birmingham after that; great games.
“This energy is something we see on the pitch, we talk about it and it gives all the team a positive feeling – definitely about the game on Friday.”