Frank Lampard has reflected on a “special night” at Elland Road, after his Derby County side defeated Leeds United 4-2 to book a place in the Championship Play-Off final.
The night got off to the worst possible start for Derby County when Stuart Dallas fired home from close range to give Leeds United a two-goal lead on aggregate.
With 44 minutes on the clock, Frank Lampard brought on Jack Marriott for Duane Holmes, and it proved to be a game-changing substitute. One minute later, the former Peterborough United man pounced on a defensive mishap from Kiko Casilla and Liam Cooper to level the scores and bring Derby back into the tie.
The Rams then made it 2-1 and then 3-1 within 13 second-half minutes, with Mason Mount placing the ball beyond Casilla and Harry Wilson firing home from the spot after Mason Bennett was brought down by Gaetano Berardi.
Leeds United pulled one back just four minutes later, with Stuart Dallas netting his second with a tidy finish past Kelle Roos.
Berardi received a second yellow for a late tackle on Bradley Johnson and seven minutes later, Marriott latched onto a good ball from Richard Keogh to chip beyond Casilla and send the Rams to Wembley.
Scott Malone received a late second yellow meaning both sides ended the game with 10 men, but Derby held on to book a place in the Play-Off final against Aston Villa later this month.
Speaking to the Derby club website after the game, manager Frank Lampard praised his side for going against the odds to defeat Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
The lads were incredible,” Lampard said on Wednesday night.
“Everyone on the pitch, the substitutes, the squad, the players who were injured to turn up and support the lads, the fans, it’s a special night.
“We have worked so hard through the season, it’s been backs against the wall at times, nobody fancied us.
“Nobody fancied us to get a result here tonight and the lads have pulled it off. There is work to do but we need to get our heads down ready for Wembley now.
“We are playing against a top team. We will be underdogs again because they have really good players and have beaten us twice in the league. It’s the same story as this, but we have to give everything.”
The Derby boss went on to say that they will move quickly to prepare for the Aston Villa game, but also highlighted that it is important to celebrate the victory.
“I’m superstitious and didn’t like to get into the planning before the game. We were 1-0 down coming into this game but they will need rest so it’s how we manage that and the training.
“We will keep working hard because we need to be at that level and that’s when you are on the edge. We will work and train hard and hopefully be ready for Monday week.
“It’s easy to say we shouldn’t celebrate because there is another game but we need that. When they perform like that, and when fans travel here into this hostile atmosphere, then we deserve our moment. Thank you to the fans because we can’t do it without you.”