Last night, in what was by far their worst performance of the season, Derby were humiliated as they failed to have a shot on target and were thrashed 3-0 by Brighton.
The defeat led to many fans voicing their opinions on Twitter:
In the last two years Derby have had five different managers: Paul Clement, Darren Wassall, Nigel Pearson and Steve McClaren (twice), this has led to many questioning whether the players are in fact the problem. Last night they failed to produce a single shot on target and were unable to replicate the desire of Brighton whose players outran Derby and fought for everything, including each other.
Brighton appear set for promotion less than three years after the Rams beat them 6-2 over the two legs in the 2014 play off semi-finals. The fact that they are now so much better than us makes me question why this is the case when we appeared so far ahead of them 34 months ago.
In the time since that semi-final, Derby have spent more than £40 million whereas Brighton, currently 25 points above the Rams have spent less then £20 million. Derby’s recruitment has been questioned massively over the last couple of years, a prime example of just how poor it has been is the signing of Nick Blackman from Reading in January of last year, the striker cost £2.5 million and hasn’t scored in open play since his move to Pride Park. In stark contract, in the same month, for the same price, Brighton signed Anthony Knockaert from Standard Liege who is now one of the Championship’s best players and was man of the match against the Rams last night. Players such as Bruno, Biram Kayal and Dale Stephens are other successful signings Brighton made from outside England’s second tier.
This season, the likes of Huddersfield have also tasted success from this – perhaps due to the lack of success from proven Championship players in the last year or so, Derby should begin to look for talent outside of the league in which they currently appear trapped.
In terms of management Derby, currently for the second time in as many years are managed by Steve McClaren. Though the Rams went on a great run from the end of October to December, they have this season, rarely showed the quality they once had. Last night they played two formations, first a 4-2-3-1, then 4-3-3, these both had the same outcome as the Rams lacked ideas, passing the ball in their own half before being pressed and forced to play the ball long to no effect.
After the game McClaren reiterated his belief that he is the man to take Derby forward and that he knows what to do in order to change Derby’s fortunes. With the Rams having won just three of their fifteen games in 2017, many people believe if this awful run continues, the boss many see the sword for the second time. The dream replacement for most fans is ex Derby defender Gary Rowett, with McClaren potentially taking a step back to a role as Director of Football. With the ruthless history of Derby chairman Mel Morris in terms of recent managerial sackings, Steve McClaren desperately needs to turn things around, starting with a win against local rivals Nottingham Forest next weekend.
My opinion is that McClaren should stay and over the summer be provided with the funds to sort out his squad. At this moment promotion to the Premier League looks very far off. Time to rebuild and hope we can end what has been a tough and frustrating spell for the club.