DERBY County will not change their approach in the play-offs, says head coach Steve McClaren.
A high-tempo attacking style saw the Rams finish third in the Championship and top the goals chart with 84 in 46 league matches.
They now face the team with the second-best defensive record in the division, Brighton, in a two-legged semi-final for a place at Wembley.
The first leg is at the Falmer Stadium tonight, kick-off 7.45pm, with the return at the iPro Stadium on Sunday.
Play-off clashes can be cagey affairs, but there will be no change of mentality by Derby.
“I don’t think this team can even think about approaching it differently,” said McClaren of his Rams side.
“This team cannot switch, it just plays how it plays.
“We have played 46 games and ended up third in the table. Nothing changes in the next two games. We just have to keep doing the same things.
“This team can play away and play at home at the same standard.
“I cannot, I won’t, and I don’t want to try anything different.
“We are not switching mentality, and I don’t want the players to.
“I want them to carry on doing what they have been doing, and playing with a certain amount of freedom because that’s what’s got us to where we are.”
Derby have scored three or more goals in 16 league games this season.
They have hit five in three matches - four including the League Cup victory over Brentford.
They have scored 29 more league goals than their opponents Brighton.
“It is a little bit like what people are saying about Liverpool,” said McClaren.
“Liverpool received a lot of criticism for their defending the other night following their 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace, but people forget that the way they play has got them to the position they are in.
“It is very difficult to then say for one game ‘we’ll change’.
“It’s likewise with us.
“We have a team that has scored goals and played quite freely.
“One of the major achievements is we are top scorers in the division. That is what has brought the crowds back, and the buzz, and we want to continue that.”
Derby go into tonight’s game unbeaten in six matches and have collected 22 points from their last 10 matches.
Brighton have not lost in eight [four wins and four draws].
The Rams have won both meetings this season.
Chris Martin’s double gave them a 2-1 win at Brighton in August and Patrick Bamford came off the bench to hit a late decider in a 1-0 victory at the iPro Stadium.
“Brighton should have got something against us here in January. They are a very good team,” said McClaren.
“They scored in the last minute of their match against Nottingham Forest on Saturday and overtook Reading to get in the play-offs.
“So they will be bouyant, and we have got to deal with that.”