STEVE McClaren was proud of his Derby County players following their 1-0 defeat against Queens Park Rangers in this afternoon’s Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Derby were beaten by a 90th-minute winner from Rangers’ substitute Bobby Zamora, despite the Hoops being down to 10 men after Gary O’Neil had been sent off on the hour mark.
Defeat shattered Derby’s hopes of reaching the Premier League, although they dominated for long spells in the £120m showdown.
"I was so proud of them,” said McClaren.
“We talked about concentrating on performance and sticking to the style in which we have been playing, and the style of football that got us to Wembley – and they did that to a T.
“They played with great courage, great courage for such a young team.
“We were dominating the game, but football is a cruel game.
“In the end one lapse and you lose the game, and that is what happened.
“Credit to QPR.
“With 10 men they have got the players and the experience to deal with the situation."