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McClaren: It's a squad game

Derby head coach Steve McClaren hailed the power of change after his substitutes helped overcome a stubborn Brighton team 1-0 to end a run of three defeats.

Last Updated: 18/01/14 at 19:09 Post Comment

Steve McClaren: Hailed the power of change

Steve McClaren: Hailed the power of change

On-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford settled the match with a superb finish 14 minutes from time, but McClaren was also delighted with the part his other replacements played in beating the team with the best defensive away record in the Sky Bet Championship.

Brighton had conceded only nine goals in their previous 12 away games, and a scrappy contest littered with niggling fouls appeared to be heading for stalemate until Bamford pounced on his home debut.

The first half was largely forgettable apart from a superb save from Lee Grant, who reacted brilliantly to tip over a bullet header by Matthew Upson from a Andrea Orlandi corner in 26th minute.

Derby had been frustrated by a well-drilled Brighton side, but the visitors could nothing to deny Bamford when he placed a precision left-foot shot inside a post following a one-two with Jamie Ward in the 76th minute.

McClaren said: "Patrick showed great composure. There was no panic. We know he's got that quality and it needed a calm head in that situation.

"It's great when you have players who can change a game. It's not about 11 players - it's the squad, and we had 14 players who contributed to that win. In the modern game, it's absolutely vital because the game was going nowhere and we knew that at half-time.

"Jeff Hendrick came on, started in midfield and then went to right-back, which allowed Conor Sammon to come on so we could go to 4-2-4 and try and win the game, and Patrick produced that moment of quality to win it.

"It's a squad game. You need players who can come on and help change a game, and the squad won that game today, not the team."

Brighton manager Oscar Garcia revealed he had left unsettled midfielder Liam Bridcutt behind because the player was not in the right state of mind to play.

Bridcutt recently handed in a transfer request and Garcia said: "He said yesterday (Friday) he wasn't focused on the game 100 per cent. He was honest with us and, because of this, he didn't come with us.

"I had picked him to play today but he wasn't focused and in the next week, if nothing happens, I have to ask again. It's a problem between him and the club and they have to solve it as soon as possible.

"The best solution is as soon as possible because it would be better for the team, but these things happen in the transfer window.

"But I am not worried because the other players are fit enough and want to give 100 per cent for me and the club and I was proud of their performance today."

Brighton missed out on striker Lewis Grabban, who decided to stay with Bournemouth, but Garcia added: "We are looking to strengthen the squad and the club is working on a list of targets."

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A

nd we always will love Ozil. I don't really mind if no other team can see just how brilliant he is, or if people think he is rubbish, because we know he is far from it. He is a fantastic player, and if people cannot see that it can only be a good thing, in that he will be at Arsenal for years to come, pulling the strings from behind a glass veil.

ganachus
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

I

like the list and Ozil in particular does seem under appreciated when you look at his stats (an odd thing considering his fee or maybe because of it). Palace have a few and I've always thought Dwight Gayle at Palace was under rated, certainly when you look at his goals per game ratio. You can probably also add Ryan Bertrand at Saints who should be in the England team in my view.

sensiblepoolfan
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

N

ew Shaun Wright Phillips, there I've said it. If any club offers stupid money we'd be stupid to say no, he's not a potential worldie by any stretch and I feel that after a few years warming the bench at city or Chelsea he'll be back at QPR smoking sheesha pipes under Harry Redknapp.

uncle monty
Sterling Case For Leaving 'Bigger' Club

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