HEAD coach Steve McClaren says Derby County will need to be more ruthless in the Championship play-offs than they were against strugglers Barnsley yesterday.
McClaren watched Derby build a two-goal lead and create plenty of chances in the 2-1 victory at the iPro Stadium.
Goals from Jeff Hendrick and Johnny Russell put the Rams in control.
But by squandering opportunities to stretch their lead, including a penalty, they found themselves having to see out a nervy final 10 minutes after substitute Nick Proschwitz scored for the visitors.
“That could have been a very harsh lesson for us – it could have cost us,” said McClaren.
“In the end it was just a lesson, but one we need to carry forward and take into the play-offs.
“We should have been out of sight. To create that many chances and score only two is unbelievable. We should have scored six or seven.
“I could not fault the performance or the attitude of the players. The only thing I could fault is we didn’t get a third goal.
“I was disappointed we didn’t show a ruthless streak which we will need in coming games.
“The last 10 minutes was unnecessary and shows we still have a bit to do with this team.
“When you are on top, you have to make sure you finish the opponent. We didn’t, we let them back up and gave them a chance.
“Against different opponents that might cost us.
“We are not going to get as many chances as we did against Barnsley in the play-offs, nor against Watford and Leeds in our next two league games.
“They are tough games, but great preparation for the play-off games.”
Leicester City and Burnley have been promoted to the Premier League. Burnley booked their place with a victory over Wigan at Turf Moor yesterday.
Derby are on course to finish third.
They are five points ahead of Queen’s Park Rangers with two games remaining.
“We want to finish as high as possible,” said McClaren.
“The players have been fantastic.
“Some of our football is a joy, I enjoy watching us play but I would just be a lot happier if we were out of sight in games a little bit earlier!”