STEVE McClaren has highlighted the need for focus ahead of Derby County’s four-match run-in with key points up for grabs.
McClaren watched his team beat Huddersfield Town 3-1 on Saturday to all but secure a place in the Championship play-offs.
Derby are 11 points clear of the seventh-placed side, Ipswich Town, and have a superior goal difference with only 12 points available.
And the door to the second automatic promotion spot has also been left slightly ajar following Burnley’s home defeat by Middlesbrough.
Third-placed Rams are now eight points behind Burnley who still have to play Wigan, Ipswich and Reading – all teams with eyes on a top-six finish.
McClaren spoke of how nerves can play a part in the run-in when he was asked whether finishing second was still possible.
“All I know is when you are going for Championships or promotion, getting over the line is very difficult,” said the Rams head coach.
“Burnley need two wins from four games.
“If we needed two wins from four games to be certain of the play-offs, you can get a little nervous.
“We can only go and try and win our games.
“We need to win the four.
“We have got a hard weekend coming up (Doncaster away, Barnsley home) and first we have to make sure we have got two feet in the play offs.
“It is about focus now – keeping focused in training, keeping focused in games.”
McClaren was pleased with Derby’s focus against Huddersfield.
“I saw that in the preparation and the warm up, and from the way we started the game.,” he said. “We were focused.
“Despite going a goal down and Lee Grant pulling off a good save to make sure it wasn’t two, we continued to press and play our football.
“We just have to maintain that. It is about momentum.”