Derby County manager Frank Lampard says he will use the current international break as a reboot for his side. A choice set of words considering the side’s poor form since the turn of the New Year.
Lampard took over the Derby reigns last summer and showed some excellent early-season promise. There was an impressive victory over Manchester United in the cup, and their league form was picking up.
By mid to late October, the Rams were displaying the sort of football not seen since Steve McClaren’s early days. West Bromwich Albion were destroyed 4-1 at the Hawthorns, while bogey-side Middlesbrough were blown away during the first-half of the 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium.
A win over Boro would have sent Derby momentarily to the top of the Championship. However, Lampard’s side now find themselves down in eighth, winning just two of their last 10 games in all competitions.
Where has it gone wrong?
Speaking to the club’s official website, Lampard has suggested he will use the international break to give some of his players a rest. Moreover, and arguably more importantly, he will use the extra time to train.
“They have put a lot in all season, but particularly since Christmas time and onwards with the run of games. We will come up with plans to rest, but more importantly alongside that to train, because it is a nice little reboot for us.
“We have got people coming back fit so it gives us real time, which we haven’t had a lot recently. Sometimes you need to work on the pitch, and we will get that opportunity with the break.”
Derby’s best form of the season came at a time when key players were fit. Mason Mount being an obvious absence in recent weeks. Yet, what is also evident back in the autumn was the opportunity to train.
The Rams have played a whopping 24 games in all competitions since the last international break. Instead of working on developing the playing style, with such short windows between games much of Lampard’s work on the training ground would instead be focused on match preparation.
When Derby click, they have shown this season that they can be among the Championship’s most fluid teams, but it seems they’ve not had much of an opportunity of late to really focus on themselves.
Also see: Returning midfielder Mason Mount could reignite Derby County’s playoff push