Paul Clement believes Derby County’s perseverance was rewarded with a deserved last-gasp equaliser in their 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough.

Paul Clement believes Derby County’s perseverance was rewarded with a deserved last-gasp equaliser in their 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough.

Substitute Johnny Russell cancelled out Kike’s early opener with an 88th leveller at the iPro Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Derby enjoyed long spells of possession throughout the game and Russell’s equaliser preserved the Rams’ unbeaten record in the Sky Bet Championship so far this season.

Clement is convinced that if his side maintain their performance levels, their first victory of the campaign will come sooner rather than later.


Derby’s Head Coach told Rams Player HD: “I think the equaliser was justly deserved for how hard the players pushed.

“Middlesbrough were so hard to break down because they sat deep and were very compact.

“I think we were rewarded with our perseverance and Johnny took his goal well.

“We didn’t have too much time to go and get the winner after that but we ended strongly.

“I’m pleased for the players, they deserved at least a draw, but they are disappointed because they want to win games.

“If we keep playing like we are we’ll get the results we deserve.”

He added: “The atmosphere, for my first competitive midweek fixture, was fantastic.

“The crowd got behind the lads and I sensed some apprehension from them too because they, like myself and the lads, want that first win.

“However, I’m confident that the victory isn’t too far away.”

Clement admitted that Kike’s 16th minute strike ‘knocked the wind out of our sails’ after a strong start.

First half injuries to Jamie Hanson (concussion) and Jeff Hendrick (dead leg) also didn’t help Derby’s cause, resulting in a change of personnel and shape.

Clement experimented with a handful of formations during pre-season and he was again pleased with the way his players adapted in light of the changes he was forced to make.

It was the second time in the opening three league games that two players were forced off due to injury, with Will Hughes and Craig Bryson sustaining knee injuries in the 0-0 draw at Bolton Wanderers on the opening day.

“We started the game very brightly but their goal knocked the wind out of our sails a bit,” he said.

“There was a slight bit of fortune with it, a hit and hope shot which fell to Kike to score, and we didn’t play well after that.

“We played well towards the end of the first half and got more intensity into our game.

“The two injuries to Jamie Hanson and Jeff Hendrick were a blow because we were limited to what we could change in the second half.

“We changed our shape and the players responded well, they found their feet again.”

He added: “I think we have been unfortunate with the injuries; in my time coaching I’ve not seen anything like it before.

“I didn’t expect that we would have to make so many changes early on in games.

“We worked on a few different formations in pre-season and they can adapt.”

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