Nigel Clough backs young Rams to respond after Derby County setback
NIGEL Clough is backing his young Derby County team to take the heavy defeat by Leicester City on the chin and respond when Leeds United visit Pride Park at the weekend.
Derby have proved already this season that they can react to a setback.
Defeats by Huddersfield Town, Burnley and Peterborough United were followed by victories over Charlton Athletic, Nottingham Forest and Blackpool.
Derby crashed 3-0 at the hands of Crystal Palace a little over two weeks ago and responded positively to beat Birmingham City and take a point off leaders Cardiff City.
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The average age of the starting 11 at Leicester on Saturday was 24 and the midfield four of Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Paul Coutts and Michael Jacobs, only 20.
Clough says his young side are having to learn and improve in a tough arena like the Championship.
"Like at Palace and Leicester, we are going to take a couple of beatings but we'll take it on the chin and start again," said the manager.
"Our lads are young. They will have to learn and improve but they will learn from the experience and be better next time round.
"We have to keep our heads above water while they are learning and improving and playing against such good sides as Leicester."
Clough pointed to the substitutions Leicester were able to make when the game was poised at 2-1 for the Foxes.
David Nugent, Ben Marshall and Matty James, all £1m players, came on and Nugent's two goals secured the points for Leicester in a 4-1 win.
"It is not an excuse but Leicester brought £1m players off the bench and we brought on a 16-year-old, a 20-year-old and a free transfer," said Clough.
"Of course that is a factor, but we will keep working with the young players and try to improve."
Rams in search of better balance for trips on the road – see Page 35.