PAUL Clement admitted that his Derby County side are suffering a crisis of confidence after their dismal 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Birmingham.
Derby chairman Mel Morris cancelled a warm-weather training camp in Dubai planned for this week after the Rams’ disappointing 1-1 home draw with Reading on Tuesday.
And Clement acknowledged that his squad’s mental fragility showed as Birmingham struck three times in the second half to head back down the A38 with a valuable win.
“The key moment for me was the first goal, and our reaction to that. You saw how fragile our confidence is,” Clement admitted.
“The first goal, and the second goal even more so, knocked the stuffing out of us.
“I was very angry and frustrated after the game against Reading.
“I’m more disappointed after this game that we didn’t get the reaction and the performance that we needed.”
But Clement rejected any suggestion that Derby’s current run of four games without a win represents a crisis of form, adding:“I have full confidence in the players that we’ll get through this. I don’t think it’s abnormal that a team will go through a difficult period in a long season.
“I’d certainly rather be going through it now than in March or April.
“I don’t believe this is a crisis; a crisis is when time is running out. Time is not running out, we have 19 games to play. Clearly we have to improve, and we need to do it as soon as possible.
“Confidence can come back quickly and it can go quickly. I’ve seen it in the very best players and teams in world football, and I’m seeing it now.”
There had been little to choose between the sides in the opening period, with Birmingham defending resolutely and the hosts struggling to create openings.
But Blues boss Gary Rowett explained that he urged his side to show more ambition at half-time.
“I just said to the players,‘Listen: come on, if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it properly. Can we get on the front foot? Can we be a little bit braver? If we lose the game, we lose