Victory against Leicester City was a timely boost for Derby boss Nigel Clough
Derby County boss Nigel Clough hailed his side's battling victory against Leicester City as long overdue and absolutely vital.
The Rams went into Saturday's late kick-off just three points above the drop-zone after a run of eight games without a win, and they produced a display of grit and determination to overcome a City side suffering an equally alarming slump.
"I actually think that is the worst we've played at home this season in terms of our passing and creating chances," said Clough.
"But on the other side of that, it was one of our most determined performances of the season and the players put their bodies on the line.
"We need to get the balance perhaps a little bit towards that, when it comes to playing well and doing what we did (against City).
"I think this win is a reward for the last few weeks. It's funny how football works – against Crystal Palace we created stacks of chances and came away with nothing to show for our efforts.
"We needed a win after results before the game, and they probably had an effect on the tense atmosphere, but we can only control our own destiny and we're going to do all we can to get over the line as quickly as possible."
Clough said his side will need the international break to recover after the effort they put into Saturday's game.
"We need the break after that," he said. "The lads will be having a few days off this week and they deserve it – we've asked an awful lot of the same players week in, week out for the last few months.
"It's a brilliant three points for us and we are thrilled like you wouldn't believe to have won the game.
"The last half-an-hour was a real tester for us and we've been in that situation far too often.
"We were under a lot of pressure but the lads stood up to it extremely well indeed."