Nigel Clough: We may suffer due to a lack of know-how
NIGEL Clough admits the youthfulness of his Derby County team will be their undoing at times.
Clough reckoned Derby's inexperience cost them in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Brighton.
He pointed to the two teams and felt Brighton had more know-how to handle the Championship clash.
Brighton's starting 11 contained eight players aged 28 or over, including five in their thirties.
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The average age of Gus Poyet's team was 28.
Derby had only two players aged over 26.
The side featured three 20-year-olds – Jeff Hendrick, Mark O'Brien and Kieron Freeman – and a 17-year-old in Will Hughes.
The average age of the side was 24.
Clough believes his young side should take heart from the narrow defeat but added: "Our youthfulness at times will be our undoing, as it was at Brighton.
"We had three 20-year-olds out there, a 17-year-old, and a player who has just turned 21 (Michael Jacobs) came on.
"I didn't see any teenagers in Brighton's side, did you?
"I saw some experienced professionals who know their jobs and know the game.
"Our inexperience showed up at times.
"We didn't have the nous and the experience that Brighton had in their side and I thought that was the difference."
Two of Derby's 20-year-olds played in the back four.
"Mark O'Brien was caught out of position for the first goal and then Kieron Freeman got done (by Orlandi) for the header for the second goal – it was just a bit too much for them, at times," said Clough.
"Maybe we should have gone with Jimmy O'Connor instead of Mark O'Brien, but you still need some height out there, some aerial ability.
"Mark struggled at times out there, positionally and on the ball. It's just down to inexperience, that's all it was.
"I hope the young lads take some confidence from the game. We lost but we put a spirited performance in.
"We weren't a million miles away from a very experienced side. We will get some narrow defeats at places like Brighton – and they are narrow defeats."
Derby, who sit 12th in the Championship, have beaten only two of the top eight teams – Middlesbrough and Watford.