Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
It’s a Big Learning Curve Isn’t it, Frank? - Notes for Derby County
Monday, 20th Aug 2018 10:10 by HarryFromBath

HarryFromBath assesses the mood in the opposition camp ahead of Tuesday night’s game at Pride Park by delving into their forums.

“It’s going to be a long season”, “Our team and manager are inexperienced, key players are injured and there is a weight of expectation”, “We’re finding our feet with so many learning curves. Maybe we’re asking for a bit too much too soon, but with all the money spent it’s hard not to be optimistic.”

“There’s a huge amount to work on. Huge.” After enjoying a highly successful pre-season, the reality of life managing in the Championship has hit Frank Lampard in no uncertain terms. An unconvincing opening win at Reading has been followed by chastening defeats at home to Leeds and at Millwall.

“It’s a long season and there’s plenty of time to get it right, I hope”, “Our pre-season flattered us and it sent expectations through the roof”, “I’m not distraught yet. We’re early into a work in progress but we certainly have been poor so far”, “Nothing really changes being a Derby County fan, does it?”

“We have got issues. Our players are unfamiliar with each other. It will take longer than hoped for them to build understandings”, “We will take time to get going but we will hopefully be a real threat in time to make a play-off run”, “At least it looks like we won’t bottle it at Christmas this year.”

Frank Lampard

“Frank Lampard, this is the Championship. Welcome to hell”, “His desire to play a total Guardiola style of football is brilliant and I applaud it, but without the tools it will fail time and time again. In the Championship, regardless of the opposition, you will always have to earn the right to play.”

The 40-year-old took on his first management appointment at Pride Park at the end of May. Rams were initially euphoric but reservations have grown around the brand of football being played given the calibre of his squad and his use of 19 different outfield players in his first three league games.

“Lampard’s tactics look naïve”, “The system he wants to implement is not suitable for our players. We should go back to [predecessor] Gary Rowett’s football unless we want to finish 15th”, “Our midfield was totally anonymous against Leeds and Frank didn’t react with any tactical changes.”

“Frank, just tell the midfielders what you want from them”, “We are trying to play like Manchester City, with players like Scott Carson, Bradley Johnson and Richard Keogh who are awful at passing and receiving the ball under pressure”, “We look like we are being managed by a complete novice.”

“What worries me is that you need the same 14 or so players to bed in together and Lampard has so many players available. I fear he will tinker all the time.” With 33 experienced Championship players in his playing squad, many fans fear he could end up being distracted by such a plethora of options.

“Lampard will be gone by Christmas at this rate. The biggest fear is the cluelessness of everything he is doing”, “He’s probably the most tactically clueless manager in our history, but after three games he’s bound to be”, “He needs time to develop his style of play. Keep behind Frank and the team.”

Playing Out From the Back With an Unprotected Defence

“We can’t build from the back. We are being turned over in possession easily”, “We have no pace or balance in midfield and our shape exposes the defence”, “We’re killing ourselves trying to play out from the back. I applaud the idea but it will cost us more goals if we haven’t got the tools to do it.”

“As much as I like us moving the ball through the thirds on the floor, we don’t have the defenders or midfielders capable”, “If Lampard was planning to change the whole system he should have signed top ball-playing centre-backs and holding midfielders instead of buying a ton of attacking players.”


“A ballsy move by Frank Lampard. I hope it pays off.” Fans were apprehensive when the starting XI for their Millwall game (above) was confirmed. “Well, those who wanted no more defensive Rowett-ball have got their wish”, “One thing is likely, this should be a pretty entertaining football game.”

Lampard played attacking full-backs Scott Malone and debutant Jayden Bogle, while Bradley Johnson and Craig Bryson were in unfamiliar holding roles in a team with a huge attacking bias. Their 2-1 loss ultimately stemmed from their inability to pass out from the back and beat Millwall’s high pressing.

“We are a shambles at the back”, “Hopefully we have a defensive Plan B, as this lot will concede for fun this season.” Keeper Scott Carson’s distribution is seen as his weakest attribute, while the form of centre-half Richard Keogh has suffered trying to marshal an experienced and unfamiliar backline.

“We don’t learn. We knew we would be outrun by Millwall in midfield and did nothing to prevent it with that team”, “This midfield was a recipe for disaster. Mason Mount and Bryson were too attack-minded and the full-backs were as well, while Johnson is simply not a natural holding midfielder.”

“We have not got that 4-3-3 balance right”, “The most glaring issue is the amount of space in front of the back four. The holding midfielder role has not been adequately filled”, “Our midfield is getting overrun”, “We must play two defensive midfielders or we will get ripped apart every single week.”

“Every time we lose the ball we have a gaping hole in midfield. We all seem to be getting ahead of the ball.” These problems were just as evident in the previous Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Leeds. “We were atrocious at playing the ball out and gave it away too easily under any kind of pressure.”

Lampard has a variety of wide threats in Florian Jozefzoon, Harry Wilson, Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence. Jozefzoon and Bennett have impressed mostly in cameo roles, but Wilson is seen as too lightweight and inexperienced. Lawrence has contributed little apart from two excellent finishes.

“I have been impressed by our forward movement.” Derby rallied late on in their league games at Reading and Millwall as both opponents tired, but it was too little too late. “When we finally got on the front foot at Millwall, we actually looked dangerous. We do have players who can hurt teams.”

Former Town striker Martyn Waghorn has started the last two league games, but he has struggled with a lack of service. Another ex-Blue Jack Marriott impressed Rams in his one outing in the Carabao Cup at Oldham while Town nemesis David Nugent also scored a fine consolation goal as a substitute at Millwall.

“When Leeds roughed us up we folded like a house of cards.” The team’s lack of steel was one other recurring theme. “Most notable for me was our lack of energy trying to get loose balls. Millwall were first to everything while we were backing out of 50/50s. We have far too many lightweight players.”

Millwall 2 – 1 Derby

“That was poor. We made Millwall look like Brazil. We couldn’t put two passes together unless they were backwards and we were all over the place at the back”, “I have never seen that many fluffed clearances from us in a game”, “Awful, the entire team was atrocious”, “How bad must Reading be?”

“This is dire. We’re defending like we’re on the park” Goals from Lee Gregory on seven minutes and Shaun Williams on 20 gave the Lions a two-goal cushion before David Nugent pulled one back on 73. “That was embarrassing. We didn’t look that bad going forward but our defending was terrible.”

“Millwall looked like a side who had been drilled in their way of playing for years. We looked exactly what we are, a team that has changed its style every season due to regular chopping and changing of our manager”, “If we’re struggling against Millwall’s 4-4-2 we certainly won’t go far this season.”

“We needed that brighter second-half improvement but why we didn’t turn up for the first half was a worry”, “It is insane to watch. Waghorn is isolated up front. We are outnumbered in midfield and when Millwall counter it’s usually 2-v-2 or 3-v-3 at the back. How is that mathematically possible?”

Derby 1 – 4 Leeds

“I didn’t expect to win today but I didn’t expect us to be 4-1 down. We had very poor defensive and midfield failings”, “Leeds look exceptional under [manager] Marcelo Bielsa. They looked assured and calm but also aggressive. We looked terrified on the ball, with far too much hitting and hoping.”

Leeds took the lead on five minutes through Mateusz Klich but Lawrence levelled on 12 with a freekick. Kemar Roofe's header restored the visitors lead on 21 as they took control of the match. Roofe rifled home his second goal on 60, while Ezgjan Alioski’s header on 64 confirmed an emphatic win.

“I hope Frank is a good learner because Bielsa just gave him a proper lesson”, “Leeds have their 4-1-4-1 strategy down to an art. They have five attackers, five defenders who can break while managing to have a five-man midfield. We haven’t yet worked out how to beat a 16-man football team.”


“We have not got that 4-3-3 balance right.” Fans criticised Lampard’s starting XI (above). Joe Ledley struggled to cover the attacking moves of left-back Max Lowe, while his partners Mount and Bryson were seen as too attacking and lightweight. “It makes me sick to say it, but Leeds are back big time.”

Oldham 0 – 2 Derby (Carabao Cup First Round)

“Well done lads. Get on the bus and get home for some rest”, “It’s good to get back to winning ways and a clean sheet”, “We are better going forward but we leak chances very easily. It’s worrying but encouraging”, “It was nothing memorable but it was a tough Tuesday night game deservedly won.”

The Rams took the lead on 36 when Oldham defender Sam Graham played Wilson's cross into his own net. Mount confirmed Derby’s victory on 70 shooting home from 20 yards. One Ipswich connection with the game was Oldham’s unveiling The Joe Royle Stand that night, in honour of their former boss.


Rams welcomed the inclusion of midfielder George Evans in the starting XI (above) but there were some familiar concerns. “Worryingly we allowed too many crosses to come in and didn’t deal with them particularly well. I lost count of the number of clearances back into the middle of the box.”

Goalkeepers and Defenders

“I absolutely love Scott Carson, the best keeper I have seen play for Derby.” The 32-year-old ex-Wigan man “is still the best shot-stopper in the Championship and the last player we need to be worried about”, “He is frankly brilliant at his primary job, which is stopping the ball from going into his net.”

player imageScott Carson

“We all know that Carson isn’t great at picking a pass and this is being exposed by our playing out as much as possible from the back”, “He’s unable to distribute the ball out to defenders and midfielders and he also worryingly hesitates”, “He really struggles to move the ball out to his defenders quickly.”

“I’m not sure Andre Wisdom is a Frank Lampard player. He’s far too defensive and poor on the ball.” The 25-year-old former Liverpool right-back “is so negative with the ball. His forward passes are very rare”, “The one thing he can do is trade the physical stuff but he’s a bit of a weak link passing-wise.”

“Wisdom strolls around thinking his strength will get him out of trouble. He looks lazy to me”, “He needs a rocket up his backside in all aspects of his game”, “He needs to close down the ball instead of backing off his winger”, “Probably our weakest player to fit the brief of an attacking full-back.”

“I was glad Jayden Bogle was brought in at Millwall because Wisdom offers nothing long term.” The 18-year-old youth product and right-back “lacks confidence in the system to take his man on which is a shame. He’s not very adept at crossing from deep, he’s much better working off the byline.”

“The Leeds game passed Max Lowe by, his positional play was very poor and he didn’t seem to sense danger.” The 21-year-old youth product and left-back made 12 appearances playing at Shrewsbury in the second half of last season under Paul Hurst. “He was exposed again by a back-post header.”

“Lowe’s lack of awareness is a worry, he runs into trouble and gives the ball away easily”, “He is one of our most gifted players technically but he needs to learn how to defend. He doesn’t seem to know when to go forward and when to stay back. His positional sense is missing”, “A ticking time bomb.”

“Millwall know all about Scott Malone’s inability to defend.” The 27-year-old former Huddersfield and Millwall left-back arrived in August. “He’s the signing I have the biggest question mark over. He gets forward well but is poor defensively. He gets into great positions but usually fails to convert.”

“Malone will probably be our first choice, but nobody will be raving about his defending”, “He was a stand-out player at Oldham, defending well and getting forward into dangerous areas”, “At Millwall he started lumping the ball long when not even under any pressure, ignoring the team’s game plan.”

“Most of the good things we did in the second half at Millwall went through Craig Forsyth.” The 29-year-old ex-Watford left-back replaced Malone at the interval on Saturday. “He put in some brilliant attacking crosses into the box and looked impressive with no defending to do as Millwall tired.”

“Fiyako Tomori is strong, fast, he reads the game well and does well on the ball.” The 20-year-old Chelsea loanee “has decent pace and he can tackle, but he’s not good enough in the air to be a top-level centre-back”, “He was caught in no-man’s land and under the ball for two of Leeds’ goals.”

“Tomori is a modern-day full-back, all pace and athleticism, but he’s green and experienced strikers will exploit him”, “He runs towards the ball, never watching his man”, “I feel for him as he’s trying to force the game because team-mates can’t pass the ball. Nobody is guiding him through the game.”

Richard Keogh

“I have always defended Keogh but he has looked past it this season and terrible on the ball.” The 32-year-old ex-Coventry centre-half and former Town youth player “has been terrifying in his last few displays. I’m nervous when he’s on the ball or tracking a man. He’s trying to do everyone’s job.”

player imageJordon Ibe celebrates with Richard Keogh

“How many times has Keogh been caught out in possession only to run back and concede freekicks or corners. His distribution has been absolutely terrible”, “It’s no use being mostly great if you then constantly crumble when it really matters”, “Every manager worth his salt would target Keogh.”

Central Midfielders

“Joe Ledley has a knack of being where the ball isn’t.” The 31-year-old ex-Crystal Palace man “is not looking like the answer at holding midfielder”, “He’s not quick enough to squeeze space in midfield or cover the full-backs”, “He’s slow in pace and reading the game, not knowing if he’s coming or going.”

“Ledley just needs to sit in front of the back four. There’s no need for him to be up the pitch as he’s forever ahead of the ball”, “He was ineffective and never got to grips with the Leeds game, being out-thought and out-run. If he was caught in possession in their half, we looked very vulnerable.”

“Bradley Johnson is in the team because we are poor in the air and at winning physical duels, but he made more fouls than accurate forward passes at Millwall.” The 31-year-old former Canary “is an option off the bench if we require a physical presence, but he has never worked as a holding player”.

player imageBradley Johnson attacking a Forest fan

“At Oldham, Johnson did the simple things well and linked well with Evans, getting his foot in and letting players like Mount play more expansively”, “He’s good in the air and is strong and willing to tackle but his passing is woeful. He seems to have the idea that every pass has to be in the air.”

“George Evans has to start against Ipswich. We really need a midfielder that knows how to pass a ball.” The 23-year-old July acquisition from Reading “is neat on the ball and passes well. He’s tidy and composed on the ball and disciplined in his positioning”, “He’s strong, assured and composed.”

“Mason Mount is definitely a number 10 instead of a box-to-box midfielder.” The 19-year-old loan addition from Chelsea “shows flashes of skill but gets lost in the hustle and bustle of Championship football. He’s best with a free role to create”, “He did a neat dummy for Nugent’s goal at Millwall.”

“Mount was pushed too high against Leeds and his finishing was woeful, trying to force chances”, “He was a deer in the headlights. He was bypassed, outrun, loose in possession and outclassed by better technical players”, “He needs two holding midfielders because he flies forward so much.”

Craig Bryson

“I love Bryson and am glad he’s back, but he needs to influence the game more than by just running around a lot.” The 31-year-old spent last season on loan at Cardiff. “He has been shoehorned into a holding role but he’s simply not strong enough. Too many times he’s out-jumped and outmuscled.”

player imageLuke Varney v Craig Bryson

“Bryson is fine playing almost as a second striker. He’s a liability anywhere else”, “Against Leeds he was chasing shadows. He was off the pace and too reckless in his running which ended up leaving gaps”, “At least he’s prepared to compete, winning balls he has no right to through sheer desire.”

Wide Midfielders and Wingers

“We can see Harry Wilson’s talent, but he did little to impress against Leeds and was bossed.” The 21-year-old Liverpool loanee played on loan for Hull last season. “He was pretty poor and constantly lost the ball. His defending and picking up of Leeds players were weak, giving his full-back problems.”

player imageHarry Wilson celebrates scoring their second goal for Hull

“The worrying thing about Wilson is that he’s so left-footed and so easy to defend against”, “I still think he will come good because he looks dangerous in and around the box”, “He looks quality but needs lesser but more disciplined players around him to cover his mistakes while he is learning.”

“I like Florian Jozefzoon. He’s quick, direct and likes to help his full-back defensively too.” The 27-year-old arrived from Brentford in July. “He has pace to burn, loves to take his man on and he is a potential crowd favourite”, “He has looked bright when he has played and always poses a threat.”

“Jozefzoon provides pace and the ability to run in behind defences”, “He may not be as talented as Tom Lawrence but he could be a hell of a lot more effective”, “He gets into good areas out wide and puts balls in. He lacks a little accuracy in his final product but he can cause mayhem on the flanks.”

“Mason Bennett changes games when he comes on from the bench.” The 22-year-old youth product has been regularly used as a substitute. “He’s a very good impact player who will aggressively press defenders”, “He looks to have greater awareness about him and he can really terrify centre-halves.”

Tom Lawrence

“I can’t wait for the end of season awards. We will have two goal of the season competitions, one for Lawrence and one for everyone else.” The 24-year-old ex-Leicester man and one-time Town loan signing “is only staying in the team because of his finishing. His wider all-round play has been awful.”

player imageTom Lawrence

“Lawrence is our worst offender when it comes to giving the ball away. He takes the wrong decisions and is slack with his passing”, “He’s a talented lad but he doesn’t look like he’s always playing for the team”, “There’s a serious player in there, but we need to see more than those flashes of his ability.”


“Jack Marriott looks exciting. He has a low centre of gravity, he’s quick and sees a pass quickly too.” The 23-year-old one-time Town striker was signed from Peterborough in July. “He works his socks and never gives defenders a minute”, “He has good footwork and good pace, he looks exciting.”

player imageJack Marriott

“Marriott works hard and plays on the shoulder of defenders. He opens up space through making his runs for Mount arriving into the box”, “He lays off the ball well and is a handful, although we won’t win much in the air”, “He will help our attacking play to flow with his lovely touches and running.”

“David Nugent was Lampard’s line-leader in pre-season and added experience to the spine of our team.” The 33-year-old former Leicester, Preston and Boro man “was ineffective at Reading, but he put away a great strike at Millwall”, “His touch looked really sharp and he was linking the play well.”

Martyn Waghorn

“I thought Waghorn was a bundle of energy. Nugent’s better at pressing.” The 28-year-old made his debut against Leeds three days after arriving from Portman Road. “He had no service, was not match-sharp and had no service”, “He looked quite bright but was he clearly getting frustrated at the end.”

player imageMartyn Waghorn

“I can’t believe we have actually paid for him. He’s half the player of Chris Martin.” Some Rams have their doubts about his arrival. “I have seen nothing from him that Chris Martin can’t do”, “He didn’t show for the ball once against Leeds, looking like someone you would sign from Rangers for £250,000.”

“Waghorn was an utterly pointless signing. We could have used that money to solve the defensive and central midfielder problems”, “I like the way he held the ball up at Millwall with limited service to him”, “He looked terrible but has been so isolated. He will be great, I’m not worried about him.”

Rams’ Views on ITFC and the Game

“Blimey. Ipswich at home”, “If Ipswich is ever a must-win game then we are up the creek”, “You can take the Millwall stats and replicate them for any Ipswich fixture. We always dominate possession and they always beat us from a set piece against the run of play. It’s just written in the stars.”

“Quite a bit of negativity and apprehension on the predictions thread today.” With 56 per cent of Rams predicting a home win and 16 per cent forecasting to Town victory, the mood is actually not very optimistic for a home crowd. A bogey team is the last things many Rams want pitching up.

“Rams 0-1 Ipswich is the scoreline you can stick your house on every season”, “An unjust defeat, which has happened for most of the previous 11 seasons apart from a few draws, so it will probably continue”, “One thing Ipswich always are is organised. I don't get a great feeling about this one.”

“Out of all the seasons for Mick McCarthy to leave, this is probably the poorest in terms of our own style of play. I truly believe that the first team to sit off Derby without a high press will get a hiding, and the team which was the most likely one to do that would have been one managed by Mick.”

“It feels like we need a convincing performance, not necessarily a win but progression, something to be excited by and for everyone to buy into. Ipswich have had an unconvincing start. However, this is Ipswich at home we're talking about. We haven't beaten them in 11 games at home since 2006.”

“It is strange how some teams simply perform worse against others, like how QPR have never won at Forest in their entire history. Do players themselves buy into the idea that they have lost before a ball is kicked because of the names of their opponents?”, “I can't wait for the inevitable 1-0 loss.”


The busiest Rams’ forum is the very well informed and knowledgeable DCFCFansUK.

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

rfretwell added 10:45 - Aug 20
Lets target Carsons poor distribution - more of the same great pressing and tigrish tackling should swing this our way again. In Hurst we trust.

MooseJuice added 10:50 - Aug 20
I really can't stand Derby.

SamWhiteUK added 10:52 - Aug 20
Look forward to seeing Harrison/Jackson putting Keogh under pressure. Sounds like mistakes are there to be made

BlueandTruesince82 added 11:40 - Aug 20
God I hate other fans. Almost all of them ATM.

Please let us hammer them and mark Waggy out of the game.

Rule of thumb, if you sound like Leeds your heads up your proverbial

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 11:44 - Aug 20
There for the taking, but the sound of it. COYB!

runningout added 12:25 - Aug 20
We will have our work cut out, even if they have been ropey of late.

JewellintheTown added 13:03 - Aug 20
If they're not happy with Waggy, we should offer them £250k for him. Throw Tom Lawrence in the same taxi and we'll round it off to £500k and pay the fare.

JewellintheTown added 13:05 - Aug 20
Sorry, where are my manners? Thanks HarryFromBath. As always, great insight and appreciate all the delving.

arc added 13:25 - Aug 20
I always find these previews really helpful (thanks, Harry), but one thing I can't help doing is looking through them trying to discern who is _obviously_ going to score against us. The answer here is Waghorn, Marriott, and Lawrence, of course, plus David %$%$ing Nugent, naturally, and probably Bradley Johnson too. I guess we'll just have to win 6–5... :-)

CalmoreBlue added 13:43 - Aug 20
Sounds like we’ve Well and truly mugged them with the Waggy fee.
Ha ha, Sounds like their seeing the true player that Lawerence is too, luxury player but he’s no warrior.
Another strong performance please lads and this could be our first win.

gazzmac4 added 15:28 - Aug 20
Could be a good amount of room for Nolan and Edwards if the midfield isnt tracking back. They had quite a bit of space against Villa on Saturday and had some really nice touches at times.

Nervous about this one. There is so much quality in that Derby squad not to be. We did show we can handle quality (Grealish didnt really get a sniff) but still.

I'd take a point here but this may be a good time to play them while Frank tries to find his style and formation. COYB!

Swn98 added 15:30 - Aug 20
Think MM could be Ramsey manager come Xmas.

Swn98 added 15:31 - Aug 20

SonOfSpock added 20:55 - Aug 20
“We look like we are being managed by a complete novice.”

That's because Frank is

carsey added 10:26 - Aug 21
Much as I would love to stuff them I have to agree with @arc. There are too many in their squad with a reason to score against us - Nugent always does and Marriott in particular if given the chance would love to stick to the club who didn't give him a chance.
I'm just hoping Lampard keeps making the mistakes he seems to have started with and PH has our lads get stuck in to them early on.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 281 bloggers

Ipswich Town Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© TWTD 1995-2021