Derby County has appointed Phillip Cocu as their new manager on a four-year deal, following Frank Lampard’s return to Chelsea.
The former PSV and Fenerbache boss has been without a job since last October, after being sacked by the Turkish club.
Derby identified him as a manager that would carry on that attractive, attacking style that Lampard adopted last season. The Rams were very enjoyable to watch, quick in transition and scored 69 goals last season.
I look at three things that Cocu must do ahead of August 3rd…
Phone Lampard & arrange some loan deals
You could argue that Derby’s three best players last campaign were Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson. All three were loans from Chelsea and Liverpool, because of the Lampard connection.
Without that trio, their side looks bare in terms of real ‘match-winning’ quality. To get promoted out of the Championship, you need two or three top attacking players, that can score 15+ goals each. I imagine Mount and Tomori will be fighting for their place at Stamford Bridge. However, I’m sure Lampard will find a couple of youngsters to help Derby out.
More of the same
Let’s not forget Derby lost narrowly in the play-off final. Lampard wasn’t sacked or failed, losing him isn’t a massive crisis. He’s built the foundations of a very good side. If they sign the right players for the style, they’ll be fine next season. Cocu isn’t walking into a side lacking quality, or without an identity. If Derby plays as they did for the majority of last season, with a few extra signings, they’ll do well. My advice would be, don’t over complicate things. You were brilliant last season, and could quite easily be in the Premier League, don’t make unnecessary drastic changes.
Build the side around Jack Marriott
If there was one criticism of Lampard I had last season, it was his minimal use of Marriott. For me, he’s one of the best strikers in the Championship. A natural goal scorer, fox in the box. He didn’t start in any of the play-off matches, unbelievably. Marriott came off the bench at Elland Road and scored two to help Derby reach the play-off final. Again, he was on the bench. The super sub came on and scored, however, it was too little too late as they lost 2-1. He must be Derby’s number nine next season, he scores for fun.