Steve McClaren: Derby County head coach says job is 'right fit'

McClaren retains coaching passion

Derby County manager Steve McClaren says a simplistic management structure and lack of interference has been crucial to the club's resurgence.

The Rams are third in the Championship and challenging for promotion, having climbed from 14th place following McClaren's appointment in November.

He told BBC Midlands Late Kick Off Derby's American owners and chief executive Sam Rush deserve huge credit.

"They don't interfere, so Sam basically runs it which is great," McClaren said.

"It's one man, one voice. That's fantastic. We work well together and that is important."

Former England boss McClaren's first contribution was an inspirational half-time team-talk that helped the Rams fight back from 4-1 down to earn a 4-4 draw against Ipswich Town.

His first official game in charge resulted in a 3-1 victory over Leeds United and they have since flourished, winning 15 of their 23 league games.

And despite last Saturday's 2-0 defeat at second-placed Burnley, - just their fourth in the league under McClaren - they are only five points adrift of the Clarets.

A play-off place looks a sure bet, with 10 points separating the Rams and Reading in seventh spot.

McClaren, who has restructured the coaching set-up and scouting system, says everything about the club he has previously played for and coached has been "the right fit".

He said: "You have to have the right owner, the right club, the right squad in place and the right staff, and that is why I think the five months have shot by and been very good."

The 52-year-old was also quick to praise Rush for making a change of manager that many questioned.

"Sam Rush deserves all the credit for what has happened in the last five months. He had the courage to change," McClaren said.

"He didn't need to. There wasn't a great cry for change so he made that, he took the decision so that takes a lot of courage. Hats off the him. He made the call and all the pressure was on Sam - so good ownership.

"And the staff are very, very important. Wherever I have been successful we have had good staff. We brought in Paul Simpson and Eric Steele - ex-Derby players as well. Fantastic. All three of us, together as a team, I thought that was the perfect fit."

But McClaren also paid tribute to his predecessor, Nigel Clough, now the Sheffield United manager.

"I inherited from Nigel, a very, very good squad of players. No doubt in that. We have said that from day one," he said.

"I could see the way I wanted them to play football, so everything fitted in and coming to a club for whatever reason needed an injection of something, I don't know what.

"We have just come in and just done our job, but as I say the big compliment should go to Sam Rush for having the courage to make that call."

The former England boss, who had an ill-fated 112-day spell in charge of Derby's rivals Nottingham Forest in 2011, says he is still not sure what they can achieve this season.

"It is kind of an innocent climb," he explained. "We've gone from 14th and innocently gone all the way through.

"The rise have been rapid and we are just riding the wave, keeping going and just riding it and not upsetting too many things. We are working hard on the training field, preparing right and if you do that, you get results but what can we achieve in the end. I honestly do not know.

"I think there are bigger and more tests to come. Expectations are growing. But it's one game at a time. Can you past the test? Each week we ask the players to pass the test. So far they are doing ok."

You can see the first programme of the new series of Late Kick Off Midlands on the BBC iPlayer.

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