NIGEL Clough admitted it was one of Derby County’s worst home performances that had finally ended their winless runs.
The Rams beast East Midlands rivals Leicester City 2-1 at Pride Park on Saturday to claim three points for the first time in nine games.
It was far from the pretty passing football that Clough’s side have become known for, but given that style of play had seen them drop to 18th in the Championship before kick-off, the former Burton Albion boss was relieved just to win.
He said: “It’s a brilliant three points for us and we are thrilled like you wouldn’t believe to have won the game.
“The last half an hour was a real tester for us.
“We were under a lot of pressure but the lads stood up to it extremely well indeed and we’re delighted with the win.
“The fans were also excellent today, they created a great atmosphere and that only went to help inspire the players to victory, especially when we needed them right behind us.”
The match was won through two headed goals, the first a fine flicked finish from skipper Richard Keogh and the second a first goal in black and white for loanee Chris Martin, who intelligently found space before beating Kasper Schmeichel with a controlled header.
The Foxes, now in a worse run of form than the Rams, threatened sporadically throughout, and after pulling a goal back through substitute Jeff Schlupp, threatened to spoil the party with an onslaught in the final minutes, but were denied by a comitted effort from the hosts.
Clough said: “I actually think that is the worst we’ve played at home this season in terms of our passing and creating chances.
“But on the other side of that it was one of our most determined performances of the season and the players put their bodies on the line.
“We need to get the balance perhaps a little bit towards that, when it comes to playing well and doing what we did today.
“I think today’s win is a reward for the last few weeks, it’s funny how football works and when you think against Crystal Palace we created stacks of chances and came away with nothing to show for our efforts.
“We needed a win after today’s results before the game and they probably had an effect on the tense atmosphere, but we can only control our own destiny and we’re going to do all we can to get over the line as quickly as possible.”