Steve McClaren said ‘it was important to react quickly’ after Derby’s poor run of form and the players did so in a deserved win over Barnsley.
In the post-match press conference the Derby manager stated: “I hate losing, I have been angry the last couple of weeks.”
His anger stems from a difficult period for the Rams that has seen them fall out of the play-off race and winless in six games; losing four and scoring in just two of those six matches.
However, Derby have begun to turn their fortunes around with a 2-1 win today; extending Barnsley’s meagre run at Pride Park in league games to just one win in 15 attempts.
McClaren spoke of the necessity of a response from the players: “A big three points in terms of reaction, we had just lost two matches in a row for the first time since I’ve come back.” He continued: “I said to the players we do not make it three and it seemed to do the trick. The players made sure of that.”
Initially it was not all to plan for Derby in a first half where the Rams had ‘no control’ and seen themselves a goal down at the beginning of the second half. McClaren noted the fans’ importance during the game: “Credit to the fans for sticking with us (after conceding), they could have gone down but they stood up with us. We were much better in the second half.”
Derby scored their first goal in 340 minutes of football when Tom Ince buried the equaliser – his 10th league goal of the season.
Nugent completed the wonderful comeback with his first goal for the club since joining from Middlesbrough in January to seal a valuable 2-1 victory.
After the win McClaren spoke of the aim moving forward: “One game at a time, we just want to win football matches. Losing leaves an unpleasant taste, it’s about finding a way to win. We are now just trying to raise confidence.” The ex-England manager added: “We had to do what we had to do to win, we needed to find a way to win. We hung on at the end and did that.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s game against Preston, McClaren drew parallels from his arrival: “When I first came (back) it was a scrappy 1-0 win against Leeds and a scrappy 0-0 in the next game against Brentford and it was difficult. We grew from that. In the game on Tuesday we will scrap and fighting and the fans have got to stay with us and do the same.”