Gary Rowett insists his Derby side will take nothing for granted when they travel to Fulham for the second leg of their play-off semi-final at Craven Cottage on Monday evening.
Cameron Jerome’s goal in Friday night’s first leg ensured the Rams take a 1-0 lead into the game and knowing a draw will further their chances of playing in the Premier League next season.
With that in mind, boss Rowett says he will be telling his players to be positive and try not to think about what awaits the Wembley winner.
“You have to approach the game as if it’s 0-0,” Rowett told the club’s website.
“You can’t try to just hang on to a lead, we have to go and win the game again, and that has to be our mentality.
“A draw will take us through, but I don’t think that you can play for a draw.
“We know that we will have to defend similarly well, because they are a good side, and you can see that they have the players to open you up.
“We have to be positive. We can’t go to sit back and defend for the whole evening, and we will make sure our tactics give us a chance to do that.
“Every other team in the play-offs are two games away from the Premier League. It doesn’t enter into our thoughts and we don’t think about the prize at the end.
“All you think about is the job, and you can’t focus on anything other than that.
“We are level-headed and we are down to earth, and we know what we have to do. It will be a tough task and we know that Fulham will probably still be the favourites.”
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic believes his side have to be prepared to take risks if they are to keep their Premier League hopes alive.
“We know how we want to play,” Jokanovic said.
“We know how to make more damage. We are ready for the challenge. We need to put them under more pressure and take a little bit more risk.
“We must be brave, strong and show self-belief. We must put our maximum on the field.
“My team has shown many times we have enough quality and we have won many games at home.
“This is an important chance for us and we will push with all our weapons to win the game.”
Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, beaten by Jerome’s strike in the 34th minute, believes his side will overcome the one-goal deficit and progress to the final.
“We just need everyone behind us,” Bettinelli told fulhamfc.com.
“If we go 1-0 down, we need them to keep screaming and shouting for us and get us through this leg.
“Last season at Reading, the fans were brilliant cheering us on, so we’ll need the same.
“We need the fans on form on Monday, cheering us forward and giving everything they’ve got, and we’ll be doing all we can to get the win for them.
“I can picture the scenes now of us (winning the tie). We are 1-0 down but we’ve got to go full force into the next leg.
“We’re going to go press, we’re going to get our shots away. It’s going to be an intense game but I’m sure with the fans behind us we can get the right result.”