McClaren’s Half-Time Team Talk Inspires Rams

ipswichoctober2013_2Last night Derby County and Ipswich Town battled out a 4-4 draw. I’ve never really witnessed anything quite like it.

Academy manager Darren Wassall took charge, while new head coach Steve McClaren watched from the stands. Wassall changed things up from Nigel Clough’s final Derby County side on Saturday. In came Whitbread, Davies & Sammon for Keogh, Eustace & Russell. Youngsters Jamie Hanson and Max Lowe, both tipped to be future first-team players, made the bench.

I’ve never watched such a bad start to the game. Derby simply couldn’t defend corners, however, after viewing the reply (see highlights at the footer of the article), Zak Whitbread possibly had a case for a foul for Ipswich’s opener.

ipswichoctober2013Derby simply haven’t dealt well with physical oppositions in both ends of the pitch on home soil this season. The away side were a real presence in Derby’s box during the first period and they were clinical too. Whitbread’s header from Davies’s corner was, on the other hand, Derby’s only thing to shout about during a dismal first-half that led to the players going off to rightful boos. Did I ever think it would change around? Aside from a miracle, no.

After the match, it was confirmed that Steve McClaren went into the home dressing room and conducted a team talk. It worked wonders.

Two Rams changes were made at the break. Sammon, who had a dreadful 45, not winning anything against the away defence, made way for Bennett and Davies made way for Eustace.

On the radio post-match it was considered whether Nigel Clough would’ve made such bold and risky changes so early on. I have to say he probably wouldn’t have done so. He seemed reluctant to make changes, which is understandable in a way – the starting XI is the team that the manager (or head coach) thinks stands the best chance of winning – but there are situations that do require quicker changes and, often, Clough didn’t make the ones that many of the supporters cried for and were probably necessary.

Credit to McClaren for making the changes that changed the course of the game – for the better.

John Eustace orchestrated the play, broke down any Ipswich advances and, importantly, allowed Bryson and Hughes to roam forward. Mason Bennett also added a real breath of fresh air, got involved and was an irritating, strong presence to give the opponents something to think about.

There was an air of passion and urgency in the second-half from the players and supporters alike. It was fantastic to see Pride Park rocking with such [second-half] excitement on the pitch. Craig Bryson in particular showed passion in abundance and fighting spirit, which is exactly what we want to see from the stands. It was brilliant to hear of his Scotland call-up today after he stepped up to captain the Rams for the first time last night.

The Rams managed to do what they haven’t been able to do recently – break down the opposition’s defence.

New loan signing Whitbread looked comfortable in the second period. He’ll be very useful during his loan spell. I wonder if his deal is another of Derby’s ‘try before you buy’ deals.

Full credit to Derby, who could have even won the game, for pulling it around. Nonetheless the defending in the first-half was inexcusable and must be worked on.

My final point is about the ninth minute applause for Nigel Clough. Many, including myself, joined in. Some fans were branding it ‘cringeworthy’ prior to the game but I felt it was a suitable thank you from the supporters, which he was certainly owed after the job he did.

Watch the goals, courtesy of the club’s YoutTube channel below.

Twitter – @NathansRamsBlog

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One Response to McClaren’s Half-Time Team Talk Inspires Rams

  1. Pingback: The McClaren Effect | Nathan's Rams Blog

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