Yesterday, fans endured a frustrating afternoon against Millwall. It all ended 0-0. Here are a few points about the game.
Derby began the game very positively but let things fizzle out a little in the second-half. Still on home soil the Rams struggle to get an early goal to ease the difficulty presented by the sides that come to Pride Park to defend, defend and defend. Out of the 14 home goals scored so far this campaign, McClaren’s side have only bagged 2 of them in the first 45.
I have long called for more game time for Real Madrid loanee Omar Mascarell. Again, John Eustace got the nod yesterday. When Derby have a lot of the ball (63% yesterday) at home, I feel Omar would probably do a better job. The role isn’t just about defending, George Thorne added more quality to it.
The Spanish midfielder has only made one sub appearance in the last 7 league games. Has something gone on that we’re not aware of? Is he not putting the work in during training?
Crosses especially seemed awful yesterday. Even Craig Forsyth didn’t seem to hit a decent cross. It is similar with set pieces, Derby just can’t seem to use them to their advantage.
Jordan Ibe, unlike his dazzling performance in the last round of the League Cup, failed to impress. What the referee deemed to be a dive was difficult to see for me. Putting that aside, he does have a lot of pace and clearly plenty of skill but, at times, it all goes to waste on making the wrong decision or just simply going too far. Hopefully it was just a one off.
The substitutions didn’t have the same impact as they have previously. Leon Best’s early glimmers are proving to be a distant memory. Yet, I do have to admire the manager’s positivity with subs, in contrast with the previous manager. Jeff Hendrick, Leon Best and Johnny Russell were all thrown on within around five minutes of each other.
Having said all of that, it was another clean sheet and the fourth in a row after shipping goals in four consecutive matches prior to that. Steve McClaren can’t seem to make his mind up about who to partner Richard Keogh. I sense that, because of that, when Jake Buxton is ready to go he’ll be back in the starting XI.
Millwall clearly haven’t changed from their visit last season, when they became one of only two sides to beat Derby under the guidance of Mac, Simmo and Steele. The Lions deployed the same tactics; excessive timewasting and a willingness to sit back and defend.
Fans that travel to watch Millwall home and away must have an awful experience. They go to watch the opposition play because, clearly, their side don’t. They just stop the others from playing.
However, you do have to admire their organisation and ability to play like that for a whole game in defence! I understand moderate timewasting towards the conclusion of a match, every side does it, but Millwall take it to another level.
This match is looking at the narrow picture. Looking at the wider picture, it has been a good start to the season – unbeaten at home, just one defeat, in the top 6. I can’t wait to see the Rams really get going, the rest of the league should be ready because it’s coming!
Now it is time for the international break. I’m sure I’m not alone in loathing frequent international breaks. Club football all the way for me.