“He’ll have to look and say ‘right, okay, what is going to be the next step at this football club?’ - Was it Chris Martin getting injured? Jordan Ibe going back to Liverpool? Did that hurt us that badly? And getting those two or three players who are going to give you that final push,” said Pearce.
At one point Derby were top of the table and building a nice lead over their main rivals, but then injuries kicked in and the side slid down the table eventually falling outside the top six by the final game.
It would have been a massive disappointment for McClaren who would have been hoping that the team could fight their way into the Premier League after the heartbreak of losing in the play-off final against QPR two seasons ago.
Whatever conclusions McClaren comes up with, problems in his squad were exposed when certain players were unavailable throughout the second half of last season.
He needs to work hard to ensure that long term loan players are secured on deals where the club has protection in terms of them being recalled.
He also needs to work hard to make sure he has top quality replacements in each position, which means the strength and integrity of the side remains intact every time a key player picks up a problem.