GETTING one over the Championship’s marquee managerial summer arrival in Paul Clement is something that has got Uwe Rosler’s competitive juices flowing.
The German has no history with the Derby County head coach, who arrived from Real Madrid in June, but knows enough about him to establish that he is the real deal.
Derby, who host Leeds United tomorrow, were quick to hail a significant coup when ex-Madrid assistant Clement joined on a three-year-deal in June, with Rams chief executive Sam Rush labelling him as ‘one of the most in-demand coaches in world football.’
While Clement, like Rosler, is yet to taste the sensation of his maiden competitive victory at his new club, the Leeds head coach is equally quick to acknowledge his rivals’ pedigree, hard to ignore given his decorated CV.
Clement assisted Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernabeu, Paris St Germain and Chelsea, while also working with Guus Hiddink during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Clement may be new to the Championship, but Rosler recognises quality when he sees it and is looking forward to pitting his wits against him – and hopefully winning the day.
It is an occasion that Rosler is looking forward to immensely, with his senses no doubt heightened by his spell out of the game in the first-half of 2015 – when striding out in front of a packed house in a full-on encounter was a sensation he wanted to quickly taste again soon.
On the merits of his opposite number, Rosler said: “He (Clement) is a fantastic coach and he comes from one of the biggest clubs in Real Madrid.
“You don’t work on that level, and PSG again, if you’re not an excellent football man.
“That was a scoop for Derby to get such a highly regarded coach in. I’m sure he will make his mark with Derby.
“(But) For me, now we’re all sitting down in one boat. It doesn’t matter what happened a month ago or two years ago, now we are all competing against each other and that is why I’m looking forward to it.
“I like to compete against such a high profile manager. Hopefully we come out on top.”
If Leeds have similar experience in future years against Clement as they have against another top-rank Championship appointment with Madrid connections in Middlesbrough’s Aitor Karanka, Whites fans won’t complain.
Boro head coach Karanka has not sampled victory in four matches against Leeds, losing 2-1 on his debut match in charge in November 2013.
Like with Karanka during his early time at the Riverside, Clement has made a solid if unspectacular start at Derby, with an identical record to Rosler of four league draws.
For Clement, as for Rosler, a first victory of the season going into the international break would provide a timely boost.
It is the first time in Derby’s history they have recorded draws in their opening four league fixtures and are yet to take the lead in a game.
Despite the Rams’ modest start, Rosler knows quality when he sees it and is under no illusions of the stiffness of the task ahead for Leeds.
Rosler said: “Derby County is one of the top fixtures in a season and it’s coming now at the end of this hectic schedule.
“They have got new players, exciting players and expensive players and we want to measure ourselves against one of the favourites in this league.
“Sometimes of course when a new manager comes, it takes a little bit of time, but I have seen them against Charlton and in other games and they have a good way of playing football.
“We will have to cope with that and then we have to expose ourselves onto the opposition and try to punish them.”
“We’re preparing to go there and try and win the game, like we did at Bristol and Reading. Every game lives it’s own life and I can’t tell you how my feeling will be after the 90 minutes. In general, I think we’re doing the right things and we can cause them problems.”
United make the trip at least re-energised after a break in their schedule, albeit one they would have probably rather done without as a result of their exit from the Capital One Cup.
But if there was a positive from that loss at Doncaster, it is that Rosler has been afforded quality time with his charges at Thorp Arch, with the players also finally able to recharge their batteries properly.
Rosler added: “I think the break came at the right time for us. The first part of the week was obviously recovery physically but also mentally which is as important.
“Then we have been working on a plan for Derby – the players are in good spirits and we are looking forward to a top game.”
Meanwhile, United’s home clash with Blackburn Rovers has been brought forward to Thursday, October 29 (Kick-off 7.45pm) for Sky TV coverage.
The game had been originally scheduled for Saturday, October 31.