Frank Lampard insisted he was proud of his Derby players after leading them into the Championship play-offs with a 3-1 win over West Brom at Pride Park.
The Rams – who knew victory would secure a top-six finish – had to rally in the second half after Stefan Johansen cancelled out Martyn Waghorn’s opener.
With Middlesbrough winning, it looked as though Lampard’s side had squandered their chance of promotion, but Mason Bennett and Harry Wilson struck in quick succession to set-up a two-legged clash with Leeds.
“A little bit of relief but more elation,” Lampard said when asked how he felt.
“In the context of there’s work to be done and we haven’t won anything.
“Pride is probably the main emotion, to see the team play from 1-1 onwards, with the quality and the work rate and the calm nature to play the football we played.
“When we got our noses in front we kept moving the ball, it was brilliant.”
While the Rams finished the season with a six-match unbeaten run, Leeds picked up just one point from their final four outings; the Whites losing their final game of the season 3-2 at relegated 10-man Ipswich.
However, Lampard warned against reading too much into recent form.
“We need to try and carry that momentum – we’ll be underdogs because we came sixth. There’s a reason we’ve finished points behind Leeds, Villa and West Brom,” he said.
“The run-in has been good for us, so let’s go into it with no fear and try and upset a few people.
“I’ll plan to play the Leeds side that have been really strong all season.
“The cup atmosphere the play-offs bring can throw recent form out.
“I won’t plan that they’re in bad form, I’ll plan for Leeds who beat us well and looked at Christmas like they were going to win the league.”
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