New Derby boss Phillip Cocu determined to be his own man
The former PSV manager has spoken at length for the first time since taking over from Lampard at Pride Park.
Phillip Cocu insists he is not out to emulate Frank Lampard and will be his own man at Derby.
The former PSV Eindhoven manager was appointed as Lampard’s successor following his departure to Chelsea earlier this month.
Lampard’s debut campaign at Pride Park ended in a play-off final defeat to Aston Villa.
“Of course I can imagine that the fans are sad Frank has gone because he did a great job, was a fantastic player and had a great career,” said Cocu on his official unveiling as Derby boss.
“But I am not a person who is going to try and do the same as the old manager. You have to be yourself.
“What I like is the relationship between the club and the fans. The bond is very close and that is important.
“You have to show you are proud to work and play for the club and we want to see that on the pitch.”
Cocu represented PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona and was capped 101 times by Holland during a glittering career.
But the 48-year-old’s move to Derby signals his first period as a manager or player in England.
Cocu won three league championships and a Dutch Cup during his time in charge of PSV. He also oversaw the club’s progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
His latest managerial role at Fenerbahce lasted only 15 matches after he was sacked in October 2018 having won just three matches.
Cocu, who on Friday targeted a top-six finish in the Championship, added: “I am very happy to be here. This is the right step in my career and the right fit for me.
“I know that in the world of football you have to bring performance and it doesn’t matter if you are a manager in the Premier League, or La Liga, football is wider than that.
“Derby are interested in the academy, and they have built something that I want to continue as a core value.
“It will be tough because a lot of teams have potential to be in the top six. But it is also good that things will not come easy. They never do in football.”