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McClaren surprised by record

Steve McClaren admitted Derby County's surge up the Championship table had taken him by surprise after a 3-1 win over Doncaster gave the club seven consecutive league wins for the first time in 18 years.

Last Updated: 21/12/13 at 19:32 Post Comment

Steve McClaren: Pleased with his side's form

Steve McClaren: Pleased with his side's form

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McClaren was Jim Smith's assistant in 1995 when Derby last won seven on the spin and the club are looking upwards again going into Christmas only three points behind leaders Burnley.

Jamie Ward punished a defensive mix-up to put Derby ahead in the 13th minute and although Chris Martin had a penalty saved by Ross Turnbull 10 minutes before the break, Derby increased their lead when Simon Dawkins scored five minutes into the second half.

An own goal by Jake Buxton just after the hour gave Doncaster hope but Derby's quality up front always threatened more goals and Martin set up Craig Bryson to seal victory in the 77th minute.

It was a far cry from McClaren's first game in charge when they trailed 4-1 to Ipswich, and he said: "If you'd have said we would be in this position having just won seven in a row after that first half against Ipswich I would have said you are raving mad. I would have said you've gone off your heads.

"But that's happened and a lot of credit is down to the players.

"They could have taken a while to get over the shock of Nigel Clough going but they've taken to us quite well, they've done the work and prepared well and when they do that, this team can play football and score goals and that always gives you a chance of winning.

"I don't want to dampen expectations, I want there to be a buzz because that's what fans want but in the dressing room and the training ground, it's business as normal.

"As long as we stay that way and keep our feet on the ground, we can continue winning but the time we get sloppy and think we've made it, this game has a habit of cutting your legs off."

The only worry for McClaren was a knee injury to skipper Richard Keogh, and he expressed his concern, adding: "It's a big concern because he's been terrific for us.

"He locked and jarred his knee but hopefully it's not too serious and we'll know more on Monday or Tuesday."

Doncaster manager Paul Dickov was still upbeat despite a third successive defeat.

He said: "That's two weeks running that we've played ever so well. We came to a team whose form shows they are the best in the division at the minute and really took the game to them and caused them problems.

"Some of our football, especially in the second half, was top class. You talk about game defining moments and Theo (Robinson) was clean through and within seconds we are two nil down.

"There are lots of positives, they are one of the best passing teams in this division and we have more than matched them and out-passed them at times.

"The players showed a lot of quality on the ball and kept trying to do the right thing and I've got to be proud of them for that.

"But on the flip side we can't keep playing as well as we have done and defend the way we have for the goals. We are a young back four who are learning all the time and the goals we are conceding maybe shows that."

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
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