We’ve never set up to draw – Paul Warne pleased with Derby’s mentality

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024

Derby boss Paul Warne hailed his side’s attacking mentality after the 1-0 victory at Cambridge secured a club-record 13th away win of the season.

The Rams could have secured promotion if both Bolton and Peterborough dropped points, but all three League One automatic-promotion chasers won to take the race for second down to the final day.

Cambridge gave as good as they got after half-time but were unable to force an equaliser, having seen Nathaniel Mendez-Laing break the deadlock in the 39th minute, but the U’s need two points from their last two games to secure their spot in League One.

Even that would only be necessary if Cheltenham win both of their remaining fixtures.

“I’ve tried to be consistent with the lads all the time, keep convincing them not to live in regret, try and play on the edge. We’ve never set up to draw,” said Warne.

“It’s not about setting out to get points, it’s about trying to win every game we can. We’re not always going to be at our best but we always create enough chances to give ourselves a chance.

“We had an opportunity today to take another step, got an opportunity today to be remembered for something for however many years it takes to beat it, and an opportunity to get us a step closer to where we want to be, to make everyone proud.

“The first thing the players do is they get on their phones, they just know they’ve got another week. I don’t think we’ve picked up any severe injuries, I had a good plethora of players to pick from today.

“We’ve got everyone fit for the last game of the season, which I’m not going to complain about.”

Mendez-Laing’s goal proved to be the winner to leave Derby three points clear of Bolton heading into the final match.

Cambridge came on strong after the break, with Jordan Cousins firing just wide from distance and Ryan Bennett seeing a shot blocked.

Cambridge boss Garry Monk felt his side matched their promotion-seeking opponents.

He said: “It’s just a real shame for us, a disappointment that the one moment with their goal was from our set-play and a counter-attack which we didn’t deal with well enough.

“We’re really disappointed with that, to concede that way. Really there was nothing else in the game.

“In the second half the territory was all ours and we were really pushing but if we’re honest we probably just lacked that bit of composure and quality in the final third.

“We’re competing hard. We’ve just taken second in the league really close and had them pinned back for the whole second half.

“There can’t be many teams that do that to Derby. We just needed that little bit more composure, to move their shape before we delivered certain passes.

“I can’t complain again with the players. You can see there’s a group of players fighting, trying to get the right results for the club. We just have to continue with that.”

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