Max Bird says Derby County must have belief in their own qualities ahead of tonight’s Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round tie against Manchester United.
Phillip Cocu’s side will take on the Premier League giants before a sold-out Pride Park Stadium crowd to battle it out for a place in the Quarter Finals of the competition (7:45pm kick-off).
Derby head into the cup clash off the back of an impressive 3-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday, while they have already seen off top-flight in the competition this season.
Chris Martin’s solitary strike handed the Rams a 1-0 success at Crystal Palace back in January to get their latest FA Cup journey alive and kicking.
Academy graduate Bird, who has been a regular in the Derby side in the second half of the season, says the Rams must show belief ahead of taking on the challenge of trying to produce another cup upset.
Speaking to RamsTV ahead of the game, Bird said: “We have just got to play our game and we can’t get too carried away with the fact that it’s Manchester United we’re up against.
“They are a good quality team - good on the ball and good off the ball - but we have to play our own game as well.
“We need to make sure we do the stuff that we did at the weekend at Sheffield Wednesday and in some of our better games this season.
“We know what qualities we have in our team and we need to play to our strengths and play to their weaknesses. Ultimately, we are going for the win.”
Bird, who is 19, has featured in 14 games after coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day.
By his own admission he found the opening months of the season difficult, but the youngster has stepped up to the plate in recent months and looks at home in the Derby midfield.
Despite his impressive form, Bird is determined to remain grounded and knows he still has plenty to learn and prove as he seeks to become a first-team regular moving forward.
He said: “Sometimes when I get home, I look back on how things have changed so quickly.
“From Scunthorpe (playing 45 minutes before being substituted) in August and pre-season to getting in the team now, things have changed fast.
“However, it’s a case of still taking the opportunity when it comes, still trying to improve and get better every day.
“I’m still trying to cement my place in the team and hopefully I can keep impressing the manager and players.”