07:57 Monday 16 December 2013

Steve McClaren takes delight in Derby County 'resilience and character'

Written bySTEVE NICHOLSON

HAPPY FACE . . . Derby County head coach Steve McClaren was delighted with the victory over Charlton Athletic HAPPY FACE . . . Derby County head coach Steve McClaren was delighted with the victory over Charlton Athletic

DERBY County’s gritty display in seeing off the challenge of Charlton Athletic delighted head coach Steve McClaren.

The 2-0 victory at The Valley stretched Derby’s winning sequence to six matches.

And McClaren felt the latest win was down to the character of the players.

Jamie Ward’s deflected free-kick put the Rams ahead in the first half and Craig Bryson scored the second goal three minutes from time.

“It was a job well done,” said McClaren. “We knew it was going to be a difficult game and for the first 20 minutes we just couldn’t get hold of the ball.

“Charlton pressed us, they hustled us and stopped us playing. We had to get through that period.”

Derby did – and took the lead through Ward.

McClaren said: “We were fortunate with the goal but once we got our noses in front, I thought we grew into the game and got control for long spells.

“At the right times, we showed the right resilience and character to keep a clean sheet and defend that goal.

“And at the right times, we played enough football to win the game.

“We would like to play better football and more football than we did, but you’ve got to win in different ways in the Championship.

“The conditions made it difficult to play. We didn’t play like we did in the second half against Blackpool but this was a completely different game.

“What I liked about the performance was that we were gritty and we were tough when we had to be.

“We still need to improve a lot and really control games but that will come.

“This was about character. We demonstrated that we can fight and scrap, and win games when we’re under pressure.

“This was a big three points for us.”

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