RAMS NEEDED TO BE PA­TIENT

Cle­ment re­flects on his time at Derby helm

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jake Ba­con

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.”

Tur­bu­lent

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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