Phillip Cocu believes Derby County’s home record throughout the 2019/20 season is a key foundation to build on moving forward.
Derby ended the season with the fifth-best home record in the Sky Bet Championship, picking up 41 of their overall total of 64 points at Pride Park Stadium.
Cocu’s side claimed 11 wins and eight draws, alongside just four defeats, on home turf during the season.
Their home record was only bettered by Leeds United, Brentford, Fulham and Cardiff City, all of whom finished in the division’s top six.
Derby’s away form, particularly in the first half of the season, was not as strong and held the side back at times as they struggled for points on their travels.
First and foremost, Cocu believes the Rams’ record at Pride Park is something to build on ahead of the 2020/21 season.
If Derby can be more consistent on their travels, and maintain their strong home form, the Dutchman believes his side can mount a top six challenge.
Cocu told RamsTV: “If you look at the statistics of how many points we have won, goals we have scored and how we have performed at Pride Park, conceding not too many too, it is positive.
“It should be something we can take forward into the away games next season.
“If we can achieve that, then the play-offs will be closer than they are for us right now.”
He added: “Over a period of six months or so, early on, we showed inconsistency in our performances.
“In our home games we did quite well still, but I also remember a few home matches we played where we got a result, but our performance could have been improved. The second half of the season was much better in that.”
Despite being so impressive on home turf, it took Derby until mid-September to record their first win of the season at Pride Park Stadium in a 3-2 success against Birmingham City.
After getting the season off and running with a 2-1 victory at Huddersfield Town, the Rams had gone seven games without a league win.
The win over Birmingham, particularly after off-the-field events in the days leading up to the game, was a big turning point.
Goals from Chris Martin and Martyn Waghorn had Derby two goals in front early in the second half, but Birmingham scored twice before the hour mark to get back level.
Goalkeeper Kelle Roos then saved a penalty to prevent the side going behind, before on-loan Jamie Paterson sealed all three points for the Rams.
Looking back, Cocu admitted: “The Birmingham game was an important victory.
“It was a turning point, for definite, in the season.”
Cocu says Derby will use the coming weeks to assess the campaign, reviewing the areas where the side were successful and what areas require improvement.
The away form - with six wins, five draws and 12 defeats - stands out as an area to improve.
The 49-year-old has made it clear if the Rams want to challenge for a top six spot in 2020/21, Derby’s form on the road will need to be better.
“The away form was frustrating for spells and we cannot afford it next season,” Cocu said.
“We know which parts of the season where we struggled, where we lost too many games and couldn’t get a win when it was needed, but we know the parts we did well too.”
“We will look back at this season with the staff and with the players because you have to learn from the good stuff you developed throughout the season.
“If we can do that, I think we can move forward. The details - reading the game, mistakes, being effective - will be decisive where you end up in the league.”