Derby County sealed their spot at Wembley last night as they overcame Leeds United in what was a classic at Elland Road.
We’ve been treated to some excellent football matches in recent weeks across competitions and this was right up there.
Leeds were 2-0 up in the tie and looked to be on their way but the Rams decided that enough was enough and rolled the dice to great effect.
Indeed, they were utterly superb as they went about silencing the Elland Road crowd with some fantastic football – winning the game 4-2 and the tie 4-3 on aggregate.
A cracking performance from the Pride Park side, then, and here we’re taking a look at three things we learned about the Rams…
They’re coming of age
This was a boys-to-men performance from several of the younger players in the side.
Jayden Bogle was fantastic down the right, whilst the attacking verve of Jack Marriott, Mason Bennett, Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Tom Lawrence was wonderful to watch.
They went into the lion’s den and played with the right levels of arrogance and belief – a mature performance from them all.
Mental strength shines through
Unfortunately, bottling it is a term that gets overused to the extent a simple loss is put down to the fact one bunch of players crumbled when the others didn’t.
This has been levelled at Derby time and again, and at 2-0 down in the tie many were probably ready to spout off again.
However, this Rams team had other ideas. They were bold in the face of the Whites’ storm and eventually came through. Now that’s bottle.
Don’t underestimate Frank Lampard
Time and again in his playing career Frank Lampard was written off – particularly in his early days.
He worked harder than most to enjoy one of the great Premier League spells, though, and has taken that ethic into management.
Three times against Leeds he was beaten this season – mocked in fact – whilst Spygate also came into the reckoning whenever he was mentioned.
Through it all, though, he’s kept at it and, when it mattered last night, he outfoxed his opponent with bold changes and a roll of the dice.
He’s not the finished article by a long stretch, but he’s no mug either.