Derby County rode out 4-1 victors over Notts County in their first pre-season game under new boss Frank Lampard, but it was the occasion rather than the scoreline which represented a special new beginning at the club.
Both players and staff after the final whistle applauded those who made their way to Meadow Lane for their monumental support in what was only the first game of pre-season.
The Chelsea and England legend explained to VAVEL UK that this will be a regular occurrence after games and appreciates the importance of the fans for the forthcoming season, and beyond.
“They can play a huge part because every player and myself feels it," Lampard said.
“We got over 4,000 fantastic fans here today, what a testament that is to this club and the fan base it has.
“It inspires you in tough moments and then pushes you on in good moments where we’re all in it together."
Important to have a connection
The importance of having a strong connection between the fanbase and the team on the pitch is very important, never mind for a new manager who is stepping into his first managerial role.
“I think it’s important that us as staff and the players link into the fans and how they support us," said Lampard.
“Hence why we’re going over to them at the end of the game, that will be a constant thing because you have to appreciate they (the fans) have spent their money and they are people that really care about this club and support it.
"If we can send them home happy, that is what it is all about.”
Up and Comers
Lampard also commented on up and coming talent of Luke Thomas, who a large quantity of the Rams faithful have been wanting to play regular first-team football for some time now.
“Luke’s impressed me massively since I’ve been here with his attitude, his desire and his ability.
“He’s quick and unpredictable to defend against and that can be a weapon for us, so long may it continue."
Lampard continued: “He’s got so much space for further improvement because his raw attributes are that good.
"I’m delighted for him to get the two goals and the confidence that’ll bring."
“Top players even at a young age have the maturity and awareness to find the right pass and make the right decision.
“He will improve and get even better.”
The Derby boss further added: "Luke is not a raw blank canvas, he has a brain and he can play.
"He can find areas inside the pitch that makes him even more dangerous, with that left foot coming off the right, he is really hard to mark.
"He showed glimpses of that and we are working very hard with him.
“He wants to learn and is looking at the bench, he understands when you are trying to say things, and in training, you can talk to him.
“Those are all the things young players need to improve.”
Fan favourite Craig Bryson was, too, an influential part of the team on Saturday as well as Jayden Bogle.
“Jayden is a young player but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.
“He’s got everything at his feet, as long as he does the right things," explained the new Rams boss.
“He wants to learn, he trains really well and showed that.
“Bryson had great energy when moving the ball and linking play.
“He was absolutely top class in that first half.
Lampard concluded: “Throughout the game, there were lots of good parts but in that first half there were particular bits of football that I want to see and I know we can get even better than that.”