Frank Lampard says hard work and focus will help Derby County beat Leeds United in play-offs

Frank Lampard has called for focus ahead of Derby's play-off encounters.
Frank Lampard has called for focus ahead of Derby's play-off encounters.

Derby County boss Frank Lampard says his side must ignore the form book as they prepare to face Leeds United in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.

Leeds lost their last three league games in the regular season, while Derby enjoyed a productive end to the campaign, losing one in their last 12 which culminated in the 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

But with Leeds having beaten Derby twice already this season, Lampard is keen for a clean slate when it comes to both form going into the game and with regard to the clubs' previous meetings.

He told RamsTV: “Form doesn’t count going into this. "It feels good for us, the momentum in the way we are playing is good, but again that only counts when you take it out on the pitch in the two games ahead.

“We have to also respect the fact that Leeds finished points ahead of us, were top of the table for half of the season, at least, and went toe-to-toe with Norwich for a long time, and understand that they are a good team.

“They are a team that has been established and building for two or three years and have some really good players. They added to that well in the summer with a strong team and a strong manager.

“People will talk about momentum, teams that finished sixth and got promoted, teams that finished third and not got promoted. It doesn’t mean anything to me. People can analyse it as much as they want.

“I’m pleased we are here and I am delighted with the run that we had to get in the play-offs. There is a slight start again process for us now. That good run got us to where we want to be, now we have two games to navigate to attempt to get to the final.”

Lampard also wants to see his players cope with the pressure that comes with matches such as the games with Leeds, with the first taking place at Pride Park on Saturday at 5.15pm before the return game at Elland Road next Wednesday night.

He said: “We must focus on the job in hand. Circuses come with big matches, so that is an achievement by the players and the club to get in the play-offs.

“They must keep their heads down and work, but I think those are the rules of football, particularly in these bigger moments. I have always gone by the mantra of staying humble before these bigger games and respect the opposition going into it.

“What is important is how you prepare yourself to try and get the best performance. That is what myself and the players will be doing.”