Errors, not our formation, to blame for loss, says Derby manager Clough
NIGEL Clough felt defeat by Leicester City was more down to costly mistakes than the team's formation.
Derby County started the Championship clash at the King Power Stadium with a 4-4-2 shape.
Leicester dominated the opening half-hour and built a two-goal lead before going on to win 4-1.
Derby were forced to switch to a three-man midfield during the first half and their performance improved notably.
Paul Coutts joined Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick in central midfield. Striker Theo Robinson dropped to the right, Michael Jacobs was on the left and Conor Sammon up front.
Robinson pulled a goal back and the Rams enjoyed plenty of possession but could not find an equaliser before Leicester's top scorer, David Nugent, came off the bench to claim a double in the final 16 minutes.
Clough said he had been tempted to start the game with three in midfield, but added: "We didn't want to go there and be negative. We fancy ourselves with the two up top. We like to start like that and revert if necessary.
"With hindsight, should we have started with three in midfield and got a foothold in the game? It might not have made a difference, it might have given Leicester the initiative, which they got anyway."
Zak Whitbread headed Leicester in front from a corner after only six minutes and Martyn Waghorn scored the Foxes' second goal after 22 minutes when he finished a neat move after James O'Connor had given the ball away.
Clough pointed to the two goals and said: "We don't think it was a formation issue.
"If you concede from a corner it is nothing to do with formation, nor is the second goal, that came from a mistake.
"No matter what formation you play, you cannot afford to make those sorts of mistakes.
"Even the third goal came from Jimmy O'Connor trying to head the ball back to Adam Legzdins. We got away with it when the ball hit the bar but we never got the ball back from there.
"I don't think any of the goals were down to the formation.
"If you give someone like Leicester the first goal after a few minutes, they're going to be all over you. They're extremely strong at home.
"For the first half an hour we hung in there. They gave us a torrid time.
"Adam made some good saves but we got a goal back and for the next 30 or 40 minutes we played well.
"I don't think Leicester took their foot off the pedal, we actually started playing. We got the ball with the three in midfield and started knocking it around and Leicester found it difficult to cope with us.
"We saw how good we can be once we got a foothold in the game.
"We did not create the chances they did but in terms of general play, we had an awful lot of the ball and they were sitting back playing like the away side at times.
"We created enough to get the equaliser but unfortunately it was Leicester who got the next goal.
"The scoreline was somewhat harsh because we played well for spells.
"Despite losing 4-1, it is the best we've played at Leicester compared with our previous three visits but we got nothing for it."