'Biggest game of our lives,' says Fulham's Kevin McDonald ahead of Derby decider
'We battered Rams in first leg,' claims midfielder
Last Updated: 14/05/18 2:07pm
Kevin McDonald says his Fulham team-mates are braced for the "biggest game of their lives" when they face Derby in Monday's Championship play-off semi-final decider.
Cameron Jerome's lone goal in Friday's first leg means the Rams take a narrow lead into the crunch Craven Cottage clash - live on Sky Sports Football - with a place at Wembley on the line.
But Scottish midfielder McDonald claims Fulham "battered" their rivals at Pride Park and is confident they have the mentality, as well as the talent, to prevail.
"We expected to take a positive result [on Friday] but it's half-time in the game and we've still got a massive chance," McDonald told Fulham's official website.
"They had one or two chances and scored one. We had more possession but we have to be more clinical, try more shots from outside the box because they defended deep. We had 90 minutes of the ball, we battered them, but they preyed on our mistakes.
"We're still well in the game. It's up to us. The Cottage will be bouncing. We'll give all we've got. It could be the biggest game of our lives."
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic delivered his own rallying call, urging his side to take risks to keep their Premier League hopes alive.
"We know how we want to play," Jokanovic said. "We need to put them under more pressure and take a little bit more risk.
"We must be brave, strong and show self-belief. We must put our maximum on the field. This is an important chance for us and we will push with all our weapons to win the game."
Gary Rowett insists his Derby side will take nothing for granted, despite holding a slender advantage.
"You have to approach the game as if it's 0-0," County boss Rowett told his club's website. "You can't try to just hang on to a lead. We have to go and win the game again, and that has to be our mentality. A draw will take us through, but I don't think that you can play for a draw.
"We know that we will have to defend similarly well, because they are a good side, and you can see that they have the players to open you up.
"We have to be positive. We can't go to sit back and defend for the whole evening, and we will make sure our tactics give us a chance to do that.
"We are level-headed and we are down to earth, and we know what we have to do. It will be a tough task and we know that Fulham will probably still be the favourites."