RAMS NEEDED TO BE PATIENT
Clement reflects on his time at Derby helm
PAUL CLEMENT reckons Derby would be playing Premier League football now if he was still in charge.
The Rams appointed Clement as head coach in June 2015 on a three-year deal, only for his first managerial post to end eight months later.
Despite occupying a play-off position in February, he was sacked following a seven-game winless run in the league.
New Swansea head coach Clement, 45, feels he was not given enough time to lead the club back to England’s top tier.
“Of course [it hurt]. I was really disappointed because I felt, and still feel, that I would have had a good chance of getting that team up that year,” he said.
“For different reasons, we slipped off it and had some disappointing results. But we were still absolutely in touch.
“Over a 46-game season in the Championship, it was normal to have some bad periods.
“Burnley went through November without winning a game and were eight points adrift.
“They kept going and they turned it around. It was the same with Middlesbrough.
“There were lots of other teams around us who also went through difficult periods.”
Derby have had three managers since Clement’s departure. They fell short in last season’s play-off semi-finals under Darren Wassall, while Nigel Pearson’s turbulent spell ended with the club just two points above the drop zone.
Now, the Rams find themselves fighting for promotion following the return of Clement’s predecessor, Steve McClaren, in October.
McClaren can take most of the credit for their surge up the table, but Bradley Johnson and Tom Ince have been pivotal for Derby.
They were two players Clement signed for club record fees.
In the former Bayern Munich assistant’s winless run leading up to the sack, the Rams fell from the summit of the Championship to fifth, but he is adamant he would have turned it around.
“That was our bad time, but we would have come out of it,” Clement added. “We were confident in what we were doing and we had good players.
“But the decision was made that the team weren’t moving in the direction the club wanted and I had to accept that. There was nothing I could do at that point.”
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