Manager Phillip Cocu has enjoyed having a full week to work with his players as they prepare for the Sky Bet Championship clash against Leeds United at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon (12:30pm kick-off).
It’s the first time since the opening week of the season that the manager and his staff has had a full week to prepare for a fixture without the interruption of midweek fixtures or international call-ups.
That has allowed Cocu more time to get his ideas across to his players on the training ground as the Rams vie for three points against Leeds.
“It has been a good week because before, due to the schedule or players being away in the international break, we have had to adapt,” he told RamsTV.
“We have had a full week of training sessions to focus on our game and it has been very good. There has been good energy on the pitch and a lot of work together as a whole team. It is a good feeling to have an entire week to prepare for this game.
“We focused a little bit differently in the week in sessions on the pitch, different exercises, meetings with the back four and goalkeeper so we split up in positions more.
“Sometimes it was individual work, but sometimes it is good to have the back four with the goalkeeper to see some clips, talk about how we want to play, how we want to defend and how we want to build up.
“In the smaller groups it is more interactive. It was good to have the possibility to do this.”
Working with the players and talking them through video clips is a key component to learning and improving as a player, according to the manager.
“It is an important part in the way we work, not only in the training session or the games, but also to look back at clips sometimes of training or games to select clips on build-up situations and choices we make,” he said.
“You get more in a discussion on different visions or reasons why players make their decisions. You get to understand how we can reach the other players, how we can outnumber them andhow we can be creative on the ball to lose opponents.
“I think we value these moments a lot in the team. It has been a very good week and we also have another one coming up after the weekend so we can continue this work. It is not something you do in a week and it is done, we will keep doing it.”
Work on the training ground has been important for the players as they face a big test this weekend against Leeds in Saturday's early kick-off.
The Whites lead the way in the Sky Bet Championship this season and the manager admitted it will be a tough encounter for his side.
“For me, they are one of the favourite teams to go for direct promotion this season,” Cocu commented. “They kept the team together very well, have only made a few changes and you can see in the games how they play and the understanding in the team’s style of play.
“They have a very strong team and they are top of the league. It is a big game and a good test for us. I like playing the big games because you will see the most of your team.
“We need to step up in the game and get a result and if you succeed in a big game it will give the players a big boost in confidence towards the next game. We have to prepare well and we are convinced we can get a good result.”