Lampard: Different tests but Rams are adapting
BOSS SAYS DERBY MUST BE AT THEIR BEST TO WIN
FRANK Lampard believes his Derby County team is growing and learning how to handle the different tests thrown up by the Championship.
Derby have lost only two of their last 10 League games and they sit outside the top six on goal difference.
Three of their defeats this season have come in the more physical and direct style of contests against Millwall, Rotherham United and Bolton Wanderers.
They lost 2-1 at Millwall in August and 1-0 at both Rotherham and at Bolton in September.
Is it fair to say Derby have struggled against the more direct teams?
“We have just fallen below par against some teams that are physical,” said Lampard.
“I think it has been something we have had to deal with. There are no excuses, if teams go a bit direct it is something we must deal with. I agree there have been certain games that has happened and we have not, and it is important we address it.
“I feel we are growing to try and handle those types of games.”
Lampard does not put today’s opponents Wigan Athletic in that category of teams.
“You have to give credit to Wigan the way they play, I think they are good to watch. I think they have got a fantastic manager,” said Lampard.
Wigan had the joint best home record in the division along with Leeds United and Norwich City ahead of West Bromwich Albion’s home game against Aston Villa last night.
The Latics have won six, drawn three and lost only one of their 10 home League games this season, and have collected 21 points from 30.
“It is another Championship game against a very good team and we will have to be at our best,” said Lampard. “We must be at our best to win games, no matter where you go in this league.
“We always try to look at the positives, work on things we can improve and believe in ourselves. If we play well in this league, we can go up against anybody.”
Derby go into today’s game without a clean sheet since mid-September.
The Rams have failed to shut out the opposition in 14 games in all competitions - 12 of them in the League.
They have managed only three clean sheets in 20 League matches.
Their last was in a goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers at Pride Park Stadium on September 18.
Lampard says the focus is always on defending well.
“When I say that, I am not talking about the goalkeeper and the back four, I am talking about us as a team,” the manager added.
“We are not trying to play expansive, fluid football. We are trying to play good football, yes, but good football for me is good with the ball and good without the ball.
“It is trying to defend well whether we are up the pitch or defending our box.
“So we work on that constantly. “Yes, we want more clean sheets. We can put pressure on ourselves to try and get them but at the end of the day winning games is everything.
“Hopefully we can try and balance winning with some clean sheets along the way.”