Jeff Hendrick bites back as he puts in best show of season for Derby County
JEFF Hendrick produced his best performance of the season in Derby County's victory over Leeds, according to Nigel Clough.
Hendrick has been struggling for form but the 20-year-old midfielder's display in Saturday's 3-1 win delighted Clough.
The Rams manager had asked for more bite from his team, especially across midfield, and the players delivered against Leeds.
"It certainly helped that we had a bit more aggression and I thought Jeff Hendrick epitomised that," said Clough.
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"You can also tell when Jeff is on his game because he makes runs and leaves players in his wake.
"That's what he was doing last season and we have been trying to get him to reproduce that this season.
"We're delighted for him. The performance should do him the world of good but he has to keep that standard up."
Hendrick said he was eager to start showing the form that won him the Young Player of the Year award last season.
"I have had a bit of a hard start to the season and I haven't played as well as I wanted," he added.
"I have beaten myself up a bit recently but last week, in training in particular, it went really well. I got a bit of confidence and I was desperate to take that into the game."
Clough felt Hendrick, Paul Coutts and Will Hughes battled away in midfield against Leeds and praised Conor Sammon for his work rate.
"Conor chased back and put himself about a bit more physically as well, which helped," said Clough.
"He never gave the centre-halves a minute and set the tone for the whole game.
"We expect it from certain players, like our two centre-halves and John Brayford, but we need everybody doing it.
"We need more from Michael Jacobs in that department.
"He did OK going forward but a couple of times in the second half we needed him to be better defensively."