NIGEL Clough was delighted with a gritty and determined performance as Derby County drew 0-0 with Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
The Rams had to dig deep against a Seagulls outfit gunning for promotion under the astute management of Gus Poyet, as they twice hit the woodwork but failed to break the deadlock.
The Rams could have nicked it late on but Clough was pleased to end the week unbeaten after a victory over Nottingham Forest and a midweek draw at Middlesbrough.
“We had to dig in at times and although we weren’t at our best, we came back in the second half really well and if anyone looked like they were going to win it late on it was us,” he said.
“We’ve had a tough week with three difficult games, so we’re very happy to get another point on our total and extend our unbeaten run.
“After the effort that went into the games against Forest and Middlesbrough, you could tell that the lads were shattered, but they put a really big effort in to get another point on the board.
“Our energy levels weren’t quite what they have been lately but that.s understandable.
“We had to play accordingly, because if we’d gone chasing Brighton they’d have cut us to ribbons with the quality they have.
“We cannot ask any more from the players.
“They put a huge amount of effort in and to get five points from the last three games is a good return, although we know if we’d taken our chances it could have been a little bit better.
“We didn’t lose out on getting seven points from nine today — that was at Middlesbrough when we had a late chance — and we’re happy with a point which keeps us ticking along nicely.”
Adam Legzdins replaced the injured Frank Fielding against Brighton and was a steady presence in goal as Derby kept their first clean sheet of the season at Pride Park.
“He did well,” said Clough of a player he signed from Burton Albion. “We have a good set of goalkeepers here and when Frank injured his groin at Middlesbrough we had no hesitation with Adam stepping into the side, and he proved again just why we think so highly of him.
“It’s nice to get a clean sheet again, that’s two in three now so we’re showing signs of tightening up defensively.
“Against Burnley two weeks ago we dominated the game and switched off at the back, which meant we came away with nothing, but today we were much better from that point of view.”