Nigel Clough: Timing of Crystal Palace goals was crucial but Derby County should have done more in attack
THE timing of Crystal Palace's first two goals proved crucial in Derby County's defeat at the hands of the Championship leaders, according to manager Nigel Clough.
Derby fell behind from a corner in the 12th minute when Adam Legzdins misjudged the flight of the ball and Glenn Murray headed in.
The Rams' best spell of the game came immediately after half-time only for Palace to double their lead after 58 minutes though Andre Moritz.
Murray added the Eagles' third goal late on and left Derby nursing a 3-0 defeat.
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Clough was disappointed to see his team concede from a set piece.
"We played against an extremely good side but the first goal was always going to be important," said the Rams boss.
"There was a lot of blocking going on, which happens. Sometimes you hope that you just get a referee who sees it, sometimes you don't.
"We felt a few of our lads were blocked off but we should have done a little bit better, because Murray had a free header and having started quite brightly, we found ourselves 1-0 down.
"The second goal knocked the stuffing out of us, because I thought we were the better side at the start of the second half.
"We were pushing for an equaliser and then they hit a long diagonal ball into our box. Murray headed it down and Moritz applied a great finish.
"On the goal, obviously we look at the two centre-halves. They are the two that were probably culpable but it was a great finish."
Derby brought in Michael Jacobs, who played on the left side of a four-man midfield, with Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick in the centre and Paul Coutts on the right.
Midfielder Craig Bryson pushed on to support striker Conor Sammon, while top scorer Theo Robinson started on the bench.
"It was tough after the second goal," said Clough. "We tried but we huffed and puffed a little bit.
"We didn't want to be negative and I don't think we were.
"We went with Craig Bryson playing just off Conor Sammon but Jedinak was another important player for Palace. He sits in front of the back four and he breaks up an awful lot of play. He kept Bryson quiet.
"Palace put us on the back foot, as they have done most sides at Selhurst Park, and their goals came at crucial times but we didn't do enough from an attacking point of view."