Was Sam Rush right? Clough v McClaren statistical comparison

Steve McClaren

Is Sam Rush proven correct with his decision to sack Clough and bring in McClaren.

The former England manager has enjoyed a good spell so far at Pride Park… or The iPro Stadium, whatever it’s called now, but has he totally replaced the Clough mantra and ideology to improve results?

Derby County under Clough were always a statistically good side; they produced many chances and always a high percentage of possession, that was underlined by their ideology and passing style of football Clough encouraged.

McClaren has been in the job for 5 games now, and I’ve decided to pick apart the slight differences between Clough’s Derby side from this season, and McClaren’s Derby side.

The Comparison:

Nigel Clough was handed a tricky start at home, and despite the fine form of last season, they struggled to replicate that early at the start of this season.

Derby managed just 2 goals in their first 4 home games, despite having on average 59% of the ball and 15.8 shots per home game, which showed an incredible lack of effectiveness.

In terms of home games, Steve McClaren came in at the right time as Derby had 3 favourable home games lined up in Leeds United, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday.

The Rams have scored 7 goals in their past 3 home games, and average 18 shots on a match, which has helped them to a 2.33 point per game average at Pride Park.

However, the percentage of possession has took a 4% hit and they make on average nearly 80 less passes per game under McClaren – which is telling when you consider they still create more chances and have scored more goals.

Away from home it had been another story for Nigel Clough and his men, who for years endured torrid spells on the road.

Derby picked up 10 points from a possible 15 away from home under Clough, and played an incredibly attractive brand of football to.

Derby averaged 2.4 goals per away game under Clough this season, and on average picked up 2 points per game away from home, an incredible achievement.

Despite this, there had to be questions asked. Away from home Derby created less chances, had less possession and made less passes but had much, much better results.

Steve McClaren has recorded an impressive win at Watford, and lost to a comfortably better side in QPR.

Statistically in every department away from home has been worse under McClaren but this is largely down to the gulf in class between the sides played between the two regimes.

In summary

Derby has become a team less fascinated on the passing statistics and possession football under McClaren than they were under Clough. They’ve noticeably worked harder on becoming more effective with the ball, and a lot more tactical in their play.

Both McClaren and Clough encourage a short passing game which most managers, fans and pundits label the club with, and they are still a very attack minded goal scoring side.

Overall massive changes haven’t been made to the way Derby approach games, but you can definitely see a slight change in tactics that have allowed certain players to be more cut throat and daring with the ball. The importance of keeping the ball has been shifted as the main priority, and now the emphasis is creating goal-scoring opportunities in any manner possible.

It’s so far so good for McClaren and his men, can it long continue?

Has Steve McClaren won the majority of fans around? Do you prefer his more pragmatic style over Clough’s possession football?

images: © Ureinwohner, © matlock-photo

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