Mel Morris: Paul Clement's short-term view cost him Derby job

Clement lost sight of plan - Morris

Derby County owner Mel Morris insists promotion was never the aim this season and says head coach Paul Clement was sacked because of his short-term view.

Clement only lasted for eight months despite the Rams being fifth in the Championship, five points off top spot.

Morris told BBC East Midlands Today: "Up until the last couple of weeks we've been trying to work with Paul to get him to embrace the plans we set.

"But I just had no belief that was going to happen."

The Rams are still in the play-off places following a seven-game winless run, but Morris reiterated the side's lack of progress and failure to plan for the future as the reason for Clement's surprise dismissal on Monday.

Morris said this season was about building on the "Derby way" and style of football, "adding depth and strength to the playing squad" and "developing and improving player and team performance".

But as recently as November, Morris had said Clement could be Derby's Sir Alex Ferguson and build a dynasty at the club.

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Paul Clement

Riding the rising tide and not rushing promotion

Morris, who took over as chairman in May 2015 and became sole owner in September, added: "Paul's horizon was shorter term than ours. With all good intent I think Paul had a slightly different view.

"He was the one who wanted promotion this season.

"We wanted to build on the squad, develop them, get on a rising tide of performance and let that carry us through into the Premier League - whether that was this season, next season or beyond. I think, for Paul, that was too long a view.

"We have to get this squad working together, developing and improving play and we haven't see that enough of that this season."

Wassall will stabilise Rams - Morris

A safe pair of hands

Former Rams defender Darren Wassall has stepped up from his position as academy director to succeed Clement as head coach until the end of the season.

"We need someone who understands the culture and philosophy," Morris said of 47-year-old Wassall, who took his first training session on Tuesday.

"Darren has had two years working with us on that, besides the previous time he had with the academy.

"He is probably the best motivator we have in the club. Right now he is a really good, safe pair of hands to stabilise the ship and get us back on track while we begin the search to see what we do for a long-term appointment."

(l-r) Summer signings, Bradley Johnson, Jacob Butterfield and Tom Ince along with Johnny Russell
Derby spent around £25m this season with Bradley Johnson, Jacob Butterfield and Tom Ince all joining

Don't mention the 'P' word

Lifelong Derby fan Morris said winning promotion at the expense of a longer-term vision was simply the wrong thing to do.

Morris referenced the disastrous top-flight campaign of 2007-2008, when the Rams went down with the Premier League's lowest-ever points haul of just 11.

They were the only team in Premier League history to be relegated in March, managing just one league victory all season.

Morris explained: "We got promoted and we had already peaked by the time we went up and you saw the aftermath of that.

"When Paul was hired, we spelt out the plan.

"That was to take the squad that we have had for two seasons, who had almost got us there, to add depth and strength to it and then to look at player improvement and team improvement and we just haven't made enough progress - it's as simple as that.

"It was never really a target this season. I said that in the fans' forum, reiterated it again in November. Paul was told on day one that was not the target."

'I have never picked the team'

Morris denied rumours he had interfered in team selection and said he had no regrets about going into the dressing room after the 1-1 draw with Reading on 12 January.

"I see the team sheet just as I am about to sit down to lunch on a matchday," Morris said.

"There has never been any chance of me trying to say 'here's who you should play or how you should play'. That was always Paul's domain.

"Every player he has wanted, he has had. All the signings were all signed off by Paul.

"We put a lot of money behind him, even up to the last couple of weeks. At any point in time, Paul could have embraced the plan we had."

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