Phillip Cocu in positive frame of mind as Derby County prepare for Cardiff test

Phillip Cocu is keen to see improvement from his Derby County side.
Phillip Cocu is keen to see improvement from his Derby County side.

Derby County head coach Phillip Cocu says his players are ready to focus on improving the Rams' form as they return from the international break.

The Rams host Cardiff City on Friday night looking to bounce back after two successive 3-0 defeats, to Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and then to Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship.

And as Cocu welcomed his full squad back to training this week, he says the break has been useful on several levels.

He told RamsTV: “From Monday on, we started training, some players came back and all eyes on the Friday game.

“We have had some time to have with players in individual meetings about their development, the way they play. It was very useful.

“You have to adapt a little bit, but there are still a lot of players here in training. We look back on the games they played, what we want to achieve as a team and how we want to play.

“We can work on an individual basis in this period as there is more time for it, so it was very useful.

“We had the weekend off so the players could get their minds off football a little bit and you notice when we got back on Monday, everyone is fresh and full of ambition, so it is very positive.”

Cocu believes much improvement is needed from his players as they aim to climb the Championship table, starting with the Cardiff encounter.

He said: "We cannot be satisfied, definitely not with the Brentford game, but sometimes they need a break, they need to be fair to themselves when they perform like they did, perform as a team and to our fans and the club.

“If you have a break you can reflect, have some distance from football, but also it means if you come back on the Monday that is forgotten and it is ‘ok, which games are coming up?’

“We have the Cardiff game, Leeds coming up, Birmingham coming up, great games.

“This energy is something we see on the pitch, we talk about it and it gives all the team a positive feeling – definitely about the game on Friday.”