McClaren: Over-expectation has cost Derby this season

Steve McClaren

Steve McClaren has admitted that Derby’s football has probably increased expectations this season.

Speaking to the Burton Mail, McClaren admitted that the Rams late equaliser against Brentford did not bring a sense of elation to the club, and has addressed the reason why.

The head coach said: “We have just come away with a point and we should be elated, and nobody is. What is that? Over-expectation? Not looking at the facts?

“I think maybe we are all a little bit spoilt by what's been produced, and me as well to be frustrated when I understand the circumstances.”

Derby reached the play-off final last term, and were amazingly unfortunate to not win the game. They wasted a number of chances, before Bobby Zamora scored in the closing stages to send QPR to the top flight.

For the majority of this season, it had appeared that the Midlands club were not suffering from a play-off hangover, although recent months have suggested otherwise.

They have collected just seven points from the last 27 available, and have slid from top spot to fifth, with only Darren Bent’s injury time equaliser gaining one point off Brentford.

Having led the tight Championship race for so long, and after impressing so highly last term, many expected McClaren’s men to easily walk to the title.

That now looks even further away than ever, and securing a play-off place is now their first aim - an aim that looks incredibly hard on current form.

It could be that expectations have cost the Rams, with the pressure mounting on the players to succeed, and collapsing under said pressure. It is no surprise that the likes of Watford, Bournemouth, Ipswich and Brentford - just some of the teams searching for promotion - were never really considered as promotion contenders, and have thrived under the lack of scrutiny.

Derby may still win promotion this season, but having collapsed in such a major manner will do little for their chances. The play-offs are their real hope, and one would believe that the pressure of those games could be too much for McClaren’s men to cop with.

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