Derby v Leeds United: McClaren's on a mission back at Rams

New Derby County manager Steve McClaren.New Derby County manager Steve McClaren.
New Derby County manager Steve McClaren.
Steve McClaren wants to give Derby supporters a team to be proud of on his return to the Sky Bet Championship club.

The former Rams boss is back at the iPro Stadium 17 months after leaving, putting pen to paper on a deal until 2018.

He succeeds Nigel Pearson after he left last week following a suspension and club investigation into his conduct last month.

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McClaren pledged the same thing in 2013 at the beginning of his first spell as manager, when his time in charge became synonymous with high-tempo attacking football which got supporters on their feet.

McClaren, now in his fourth spell at Derby having also played for the club and been assistant to Jim Smith in the 1990s, wants to get the iPro Stadium buzzing again, starting with tomorrow’s home game against Leeds United.

“I’ve been watching the team and the progress being made since I’ve been away,” said the former England boss.

“Derby have signed some damn good players and the potential is there.

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“Now we have to work together and produce a team the supporters once again can be proud of.

“The way we played three years ago wasn’t just successful in 2013-14, but also in the season afterwards as well. We’ll look at the players and the capabilities they have. Will we play the same way again? Why not?

“We were always an exciting, attacking football team. That’s what I want to see.

“But it’s not going to happen over night, it’s going to take some hard work. Chemistry and gelling takes time.”

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McClaren led Derby to the brink of promotion during his first spell as manager, taking the Rams to the Championship play-off final in 2014.

Getting the club back in the Premier League remains his long-term aim, but winning matches is immediately at the forefront of his mind.

“I have the same feeling that I had when I came here last time,” said McClaren. “This is a big club and a club with a great history and tradition and it can go on a lot further, there’s lots of potential.

“This club should be in the Premier League. That’s the aim. We have to build and grow again and establish ourselves back up to become contenders again.

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“It was different before as I took over an established team that was in mid-table. Now, we are fifth from bottom and that shows there are obviously problems that need sorting quickly.

“But these are good players that have just lost their way. I’m excited by the team and the players and the squad - cohesion is key. And we will play the brand of football we want to play.

“The process begins tomorrow against Leeds and I will know a lot more after that. Things are not going to click straight away, there will be teething problems, but hopefully it will be a positive start.

“It’s about the players showing the right attitude and taking responsibility now, that’s what I’m looking for.”