Derby County sack Paul Clement after seven games without a win

Carlo Ancelotti’s former Real Madrid assistant fired with Rams fifth in Championship

A run of seven Championship games without a win cost Paul Clement his job as Derby County's manager on Monday. During his days as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, Clement was feted for his work with some of the world's best players but the 44-year-old found life in England's second tier a somewhat tougher proposition.

After Derby slipped to fifth in the table, Mel Morris, the club's chairman, decided enough was enough and, following eight months in charge and 14 wins in 33 games, Clement was replaced by Darren Wassall. Previously the academy director and a former Derby defender, Wassall will take the helm for the remainder of the season.

Although Morris, rather unusually, claimed promotion “was not the primary target”, he said the team had “not made enough progress” under a coach who first came to prominence while rising through the ranks at Chelsea.

On succeeding Steve McClaren at the iPro Stadium last June, Clement was provided with a significant squad-strengthening budget. He twice broke Derby's transfer record, recruiting Thomas Ince for £4.75m from Hull and then Bradley Johnson for £6m from Norwich.


After a slow start in which Clement failed to win any of his first six games in charge, the team began climbing the table and, by Boxing Day, were top. Yet a subsequent wobble that began with a New Year defeat at Middlesbrough provoked sufficient alarm in the boardroom for Derby to make a move which Morris said “saddened” directors.

The chairman said that playing style and squad strength rather than promotion had been deemed “priorities” but Clement had failed to make the desired impact in these spheres.

“We are grateful for the contribution Paul has made but the time is right to make a change,” Morris said. “When Paul joined us last year we worked with him to develop a plan for the club which we asked him to embrace. It was clear in this plan that promotion this season was not the primary target.

“The priorities were building on the Derby way and style of football enjoyed in the past two seasons, adding depth and strength to our playing squad and developing and improving player and team performance. Sadly, on these measurements, we have not made enough progress and that is why we have decided to part company with Paul.”

In a day of change in the East Midlands, Derby also appointed Des Walker, the former Nottingham Forest defender, as their academy's defensive coach and Craig Short rejoined the club as an Under-21 coach.

On a bleak Monday for Championship managers Neil Redfearn parted company with third-bottom Rotherham. The former Leeds, Scarborough and Halifax manager had won only five of his 21 games in charge since succeeding Steve Evans in October.

(Guardian service)