Lam­pard: Rams are learn­ing how to adapt


Derby Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By STEVE NI­CHOL­SON­chol­[email protected]­

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.”

Derby County man­ager Frank Lam­pard be­lieves the Rams have fallen be­low par against some teams that are phys­i­cal this sea­son.

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