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McClaren focusing on Brighton

Manager Steve McClaren is taking nothing for granted as Derby prepare to meet Brighton in the Sky Bet Championship semi-final play-offs.

Last Updated: 03/05/14 at 18:22 Post Comment

Steve McClaren: Says the season starts now for Derby

Steve McClaren: Says the season starts now for Derby

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The former England coach saw his side battle for a point from a 1-1 draw at Leeds and declared: "The season begins for us now. We have done nothing yet. We've got a ticket for the lottery and we hope it is the lucky one."

McClaren made six changes but Simon Dawkins took just six minutes to shoot the Rams ahead.

Matt Smith equalised from Ross McCormack's assist five minutes into the second half, but McClaren said: "We wanted to turn in a performance and be hard to beat and we did that.

"They gave us a hard test but we showed tremendous attitude."

McClaren confirmed that all his players had come through without injury and added: "The games against Brighton are like two cup ties.

"Over the last few weeks we have cemented our place in the play-offs and our level of performance hasn't dropped, but we are taking nothing for granted.

"Brighton will be buzzing after defeating Nottingham Forest and qualifying for the play-offs so we will take that into account.

"When I took the job I would have said you were mad if you had told me we would finish where we are, but the players have been magnificent, adding consistency to their game."

Leeds concluded a disappointing campaign with 10 points out of 15 since the club's ownership was sorted out to finish 15th in the table.

Manager Brian McDermott said: "Since things have settled down our record equates to 92 points over a season.

"We played some really good stuff against Derby who are the team to beat in the play-offs.

"There are a lot of reasons for where we finished and they are not excuses. We are not where we want to be yet. We just need a stable environment and with the new ownership situation these are exciting times for Leeds United."

McDermott's future as Leeds manager remains to be confirmed but he is upbeat and said: "I have to talk to the owner and take things from there.

"I am itching to start planning and preparing for next season. It drives you on when you see nearly 30,000 supporters in the ground. They don't give up and the Leeds United manager won't give up."

After their poor start, Leeds had two penalty claims rejected. Michael Tonge argued that Richard Keogh handled his 20 yard shot as the interval approached and Smith claimed he was impeded as he ran through the penalty box two minutes after scoring.

Derby defended manfully at times against the threat of Smith and McCormack - a quality that should stand them in good stead as they reach out for promotion.

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Readers' Comments

S

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

T

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

N

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
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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