EXCLUSIVE: Lampard on consistency, clean sheets, and yellow cards ahead of Saturday’s match against Sheffield United

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As the championship gets back into action this weekend following the international break, Derby County face top-of-the-table Sheffield United at Pride Park. Coming into this match off the back of a 1-1 draw away to QPR, Derby will be looking to pick up those valuable three points.

Currently sitting eighth in the table and only one point away from a play-off place, Derby haven’t had a bad start. But Lampard wants to see more consistency from his team:

“We are a bit of a work in progress for obvious reasons. We have nine new players this year, a lot of youth, a bit of a change in the way we’re trying to play and some new ideas so it’s normal I think in some games that the consistency isn’t there.
“We need to get there very quickly because you’re not going to be successful in a league like this if you aren’t consistent. That was the disappointing factor of last month – we’re probably a few points shy of where we should be.”

With Sheffield United on top form at the moment, Saturday could be a tough match. However, Derby will have the home crowd behind them and the thrill of being live on Sky Sports. Lampard spoke about the upcoming match and his opinion of the opposition.

“They are playing fantastically well. They’ve got a great manager and great style of play. Their brand of football has been brilliant and they are top on merit. They will come here full of confidence.
“Collectively, we will have to be on it. If we are, we can match anybody in this league. We’re at home, we have great support from our fans. We need to use that in our favour.”

One concern for the rams is their form away from home. Out of their six away games so far in the league this season, Lampard’s men haven’t managed to keep a single clean sheet. Discussing this statistic and what it means for the teams training sessions with difficult games coming up, Lampard said:

“We shouldn’t hide away from that stat and that fact, but at the same time we work on it all the time. We work on defending as much as we work on attacking and sometimes attacking is the best form of defence.
“I know that’s a cliché but it’s a collective thing. It’s something that we look at all the time, not just with this game coming up, but every game. Because we have conceded away from home yes, for sure we need to make sure that we are working as a group to improve on that, I’m very aware of it.”

Another possible worry is yellow cards. Both Bryson and Johnson are on four yellow cards each and are at risk of receiving one-match bans if they pick up any more before 30th November. With the next three matches all against sides in the top five, Lampard explained his thoughts on the situation:

“It’s hard to predict the future so as you go into those games you don’t know whether they will pick up or won’t pick up. In this championship it’s very hard to ask someone to consider yellow cards and I mean yellow cards that are in match play. Craig Bryson picked up one at QPR which was in match play, a genuine attempt to win the ball and he doesn’t, so they can happen.
“I will cross that bridge when it comes. When a player reaches 5, whether it be those two or any other, then we’ll have to look at it. I’m fortunate to have a strong squad. I have players who come in and those moments sometimes open up moments for somebody else.”

He also discussed the fitness of players coming back from international duty, expressing that they are all healthy with the exception of Joe Ledley who has recently undergone surgery for a hip problem. Ledley could be out of action for six weeks.