Derby County are in the midst of what is arguably their busiest period of the 2020/21 campaign – and Liam Rosenior says every member of the squad understand what is expected of them.
Derby have six games to play inside 19 days over the course of the next few weeks as their gruelling Sky Bet Championship schedule shows no sign of holding up.
That run of six matches includes four away from home, including a sequence of three in succession on the road over the course of the next week.
The away triple-header starts at in-form Cardiff City on Tuesday night (7pm), before short trips to Coventry City on Saturday and Barnsley next Wednesday.
Assistant Manager Rosenior, speaking ahead of the trip to Cardiff, believes the Rams’ players are well prepared for the busy period and has stressed that all the coaching staff have belief in their qualities.
“We need to keep doing what we are doing and keep the spirit and determination, as well as working on our quality with the ball and creating goalscoring chances,” Rosenior told RamsTV.
“The players know now what is expected of them and the demands that we place on them. We will never demand anything from the players that we know they cannot do.
“That is the worst thing you can do in coaching or teaching; you wouldn’t teach a five-year-old child algebra. You will kill their confidence by doing that!
“You have to show your belief in players. Sometimes you praise the players and show your belief in that way and sometimes you must set the standard and say: ‘you are good enough to achieve these standards’.
“Every time you speak to a player it is an opportunity to get a message across to them. We want to give players the best chance to win every game. That will continue into the game against Cardiff on Tuesday and going into a huge game against Coventry on Saturday as well.
“I think from the time we have taken over the team our form has been in and around the top-six and we want to maintain that for the rest of the season and make sure we are in this league and ready to consolidate and go again next season.”
He added: “Overall, as a staff, we are delighted with the application of the players. The thing about the Championship is you get a different type of challenge every week, different types of football and different types of teams.
“I have got to give the players huge credit because we are trying to get a lot of information over the course of the games over one training day and sometimes we have to make big adjustments to the way that we play and the players have taken it on board and put it in to practice.”
Derby will go into the Cardiff fixture off the back of a hard-fought 1-1 draw against local rivals Nottingham Forest on Friday night at Pride Park Stadium.
Colin Kazim-Richards lashed home a late equaliser for the Rams as they came from behind for the first time this season to earn a point, having previously lost every game they had conceded the first goal in a league fixture.
Rosenior was pleased to see the Rams put that statistic right in a local derby fixture.
Looking back on the draw with the Reds, he said: “What was most pleasing thing for me about the game Friday was it was the first time we have come back from being a goal down.
“That is something we have challenged the players to improve and we have challenged ourselves as staff to improve is that resilience which you need in this league.
“You can have setbacks and I think for the first half an hour we absolutely dominated Forest in every single aspect of the game in terms of our shape, our organisation, our possession.
“We went behind to a poor goal and our reaction should be ‘no problem, let’s see a reaction’. What was really pleasing for us as a coaching staff was the second half, the lads stuck with it.
“In terms of performance, it wasn’t one of our better ones, but that is how you grind out results in this league.”
Cardiff, under the guidance of Mick McCarthy, have been in impressive form in recent weeks.
He has overseen nine matches since his appointment in mid-January and picked up six wins and three draws during that time.
Rosenior says the 62-year-old former Republic of Ireland boss has transformed the Bluebirds’ fortunes since replacing Neil Harris and put them into play-off contention.
He said: “Mick has been there, done it and got the t-shirt as a manager.
“He has had an outstanding career. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mick through my work with Sky Sports and the guy knows the game inside out and he knows what he wants from his teams.
“They are a little bit different that us in the way they play, very direct with a lot of long throws and very difficult to play against, and we respect that.
“Another huge part of Mick is Terry Connor as the Assistant Manager. He was my first coach when I was ten years old. They make a great double act and they have really got Cardiff in a great place at the moment, but we are prepared for them and you have to be.
“It is going to be a physical game but what our players have shown and what we have shown as a team, we can win games in different ways and we will have to try and do that on Tuesday night.”