Wayne Rooney knows there’s pressure on Derby County to improve their form and retain their Sky Bet Championship status for another season - and he continues to have full belief in his players.
Derby sit four points clear of the division’s bottom three with two matches left to play, although Rotherham United in 22nd spot do have a game in hand to play next week.
Rooney’s side will make the long journey to promotion hopefuls Swansea City on Saturday (3pm kick-off), before concluding the campaign at home to Sheffield Wednesday, who are also four points behind the Rams in 23rd place, seven days later.
Derby have tasted five successive defeats since the 2-0 home win over Luton Town on Good Friday, albeit when some performances have deserved more and injuries have hit the side hard at a key time.
Rooney has stressed that the Rams know what they need to do, while he remains confident that Derby have what it takes to get across the line and put a challenging season behind them.
“It is a pressurised situation in terms of we are trying to stay in the league,” Rooney told RamsTV.
“We are not in good form in terms of results, but we have got two games left to try and turn it round.
“We know what we have to do. There is a lot of pressure on the teams that are chasing us as well, they have to pick up the points to go ahead of us, and our focus is solely on our game on Saturday.
“We have to just keep pushing and trying to get the win. A win on Saturday would be a huge result for us that leads us into the last game of the season. We are giving it our full attention and focus to get our preparation right for Saturday.”
He added: “The mindset is to try and win in any way. Performances are not the most important thing at this stage of the season, it is about trying to get the three points.
“We have to go to Swansea with the belief we can win. I believe we can, and I will have the team set up right to make sure we give ourselves the best chance.”
Derby were 2-0 winners over Swansea when the two sides met at Pride Park Stadium back in December.
Colin Kazim-Richards and Kamil Jozwiak were the goalscorers as the side picked up their first home win of the campaign.
It is a timely reminder of what Derby’s players are capable of and Rooney knows it is important to life the side’s confidence at a key time.
“We know if we play our game against them then they will struggle to deal with us,” Rooney said.
“Of course, confidence is low amongst the players when results aren’t going your way, so it is my job to lift them and make sure I do that the best I can this week.
“We have good players, and they have very good ability, so it is on me to try and make those players to play with a relaxation which will make them perform better.”
Rooney has taken his squad away from Derby for a few days, before heading to South Wales later in the week, to provide a change of scenery ahead of the meeting with the Swans.
“I think it is important for the players to be around each other,” Rooney said.
“That is not only on the training pitch, but also in the hotel to have some time together outside of football to speak, to get things off their chest and to relax a little bit as well.
“It is a very important time of the season and it is an important thing for the players to do so they have no distractions going into the game on Saturday.”