McClaren identifies the three areas which have affected Derby this season

Derby County manager Steve McClaren says a number of things have affected his team's performances.

Derby County manager Steve McClaren cited three reasons in the Derby Telegraph the club are in the play-offs and not fighting for automatic promotion in the Championship.

Derby are currently fifth in the table with a four point gap over the side in seventh place, but they have seen their chances of going into the Premier League automatically made impossible by a recent difficult run of form.

Derby have turned things around at the right time, but the Rams boss suggests his team suffered in three areas, when they slid down the table and away from first place.

“The pluses are the goals we are scoring, the quality we have, and the fight and character,” said McClaren.

“We have not had a fully-fit squad, we have not had stability, not had that calmness, and so we have not been getting results.”

Injuries affect any team and unfortunately they have created a negative sequence of knock on effects for club.

The important thing is that Derby have still given themselves a chance of promotion and are in a position where they can make up for the heartbreak of their play-off final defeat last season.

The defence has to step up and needs to produce two clean sheets because the game against Huddersfield last weekend, showed the sort of pressure which is currently being placed over the attack.

It would be remarkable if Derby slip outside the top six over their final two games, but they need to stay positive and try to get some momentum heading into the play-off games.

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