Date: 19th January 2009 at 2:40pm
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Nigel Clough’s first match as Derby manager ended in defeat at QPR on Saturday, and he was disappointed by the amount of below par performances several experienced players gave.

‘You can look round the dressing room and there is not anybody really who can hold their hand up and say ‘well, yes, I performed well today’.

‘We had experienced players out there – Andy Todd, having been man-of-the-match probably against Manchester United last week, struggled.

‘Martin Albrechtsen’s come in at right-back, probably not his best position, and struggled a bit.

‘Rob Hulse never really held the ball first half, nor did Luke Varney.

‘So you’re looking for those players to perform at least to a certain standard.

‘I think there were a few people below par.

‘Basically, I didn’t think people did their basic jobs.

‘The strikers didn’t hold the ball up, the wide men didn’t go wide and get crosses in – something we’ve taken for granted over the last few years where we’ve been.

‘We were also far too deep as a back four.’

The response to going a goal down wasn’t something that pleased Clough either.

‘Up until that point, we`d started reasonably brightly and it was probably their (Rangers’) first serious attack.

‘You can do so much to try and get a positive feel about the place and then when that goal went in, everything seemed to revert to type, which is something we’re going to have to deal with.

‘The best way to deal with it is not to concede the first goal and keep it at 0-0, which we did against Manchester united last week but couldn’t do against QPR.’

Clough was talking to the Evening Telegraph.

A sixth defeat in eight matches, and a fifth defeat at Pride Park this season, leave us very much still embroiled in the relegation dogfight in the Championship. The players have to start showing the level of commitment and performance level that they did in the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi Final against Manchester United, proving that it was not just the big match syndrome that saw levels raised. Maybe some had their minds on that match anyway?

Another performance like this one against QPR against Manchester United on Tuesday and dreams of a Wembley date in the Carling Cup Final will come crashing down!

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