Steve McClaren has told the Burton Mail what he felt was the most impressive aspect of Derby’s 2-0 win away at Cardiff over the weekend.
Derby were dominant in the first-half against the Welsh club and McClaren was pleased with the way the team kept battling despite missing a penalty through Chris Martin.
“I think that would have affected us a year ago – but not now,” said McClaren.
“The team showed their maturity, carried on playing and competing, and got the two goals.”
“We said at half-time, 'let's take it on now' – and we had opportunities to get the third goal but we got sloppy and a little casual.”
Derby could have let their heads drop early on, but they used the penalty miss as motivation to press on and secure an advantage during the game.
Where McClaren won’t be pleased is with how the Rams appear to have eased off the gas once they got ahead, inviting Cardiff to try and get back into the game.
On another day against a different team, that might have worked against them but the defence battled well to keep a clean sheet, taking some of the pressure off of the attack.
The boss has enough experience to know when to step in and guard against complacency and that’s something he’s likely to be stressing in training over the course of this week.
Derby currently sit in second place behind Bournemouth on goal difference and staring at the very realistic possibility of promotion to the Premier League.