Derby are in great shape heading into the weekend after a positive performance earlier this week against Blackburn, with new signing Darren Bent excelling up front.
The boss has cited eight things his team and players can show as the Rams continue their quest for promotion up to the Premier League.
“It is about consistency, it is about clean sheets it is about playing as a team and doing the small things well,” said the boss.
“Recovering to shape, covering your team-mate, winning your duels and earning the right to play.”
McClaren’s apparent blueprint is encouraging because it suggests he’s not going to let any of his players get ahead of themselves and will stress the need for progress in the most obscure and taken for granted areas.
Doing the basics correctly will give Derby a strong core running through their performances, which the manager can wrap risks and different tactics around in bigger games against the more difficult opponents.
Derby would back themselves in most contests against teams in the Championship to have better quality, which should show itself in any 90 minute game if the team can defend professionally and attack effectively.
It’s a very clear message which lets a big group of players know exactly what is expected from them in every single game.
If players don’t match up the points McClaren has made, they won’t be in the side regardless of their quality and reputation. Players who work hard in these key areas should get a chance.