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Frank Lampard has a special bond with his Derby players, Shay Given reveals
Shay Given says Derby boss Frank Lampard has a special bond with his players.
The Rams became the first club in play-off history to lose the first leg of their semi-final at home and still progress following a remarkable 4-2 triumph against Leeds at Elland Road.
It tasted extra sweet for Lampard, who was the subject of ridicule from Leeds fans after the ‘Spygate’ saga earlier in the season.
The Derby boss had the last laugh, though, by leading the chants of ‘Stop Crying Frank Lampard’ in the dressing room – and reports claim he then picked up a £2,800 bar bill in a local pub.
And Given, Derby’s goalkeeping coach, says the Chelsea legend has developed a unique relationship with his young squad.
“It was a special night for us,” Given told talkSPORT.
“We enjoyed the moment and we know we’ve got a massive final to play.
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“The players and the staff see Frank’s emotions before the games, at half-time and after the games.
“They know what it means to him and he really has bonded with this group of players.
“That’s shown after the game, but before the game he had the lads fired up and well organised because Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds are a fantastic team as well.
“We knew we had to get the system right and how we played right.”
The bar bill, believed to be Lampard’s, featured 209 beers, 75 Jagermeisters and one diet coke – which certainly didn’t belong to Given.
“If you believe that, you’ll believe anything!” he added.
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Attention now turns to the play-off final against Aston Villa on May 27 and Given knows the Rams, who have already lost to their opponents twice this season, will be underdogs.
“We’ve got a massive game against Aston Villa. We know how tough that’s going to be after the run that they’ve been on for the last four or five months,” he continued.
“They’ll be big favourites going into the final. But if we can play and get the performance like we did the other night, we can play against anyone.
“It’s not going to be easy, it’ll be a special day.”