Derby sack Steve McClaren for second time in two years
Steve McClaren has been sacked for a second time by Derby County with owner Mel Morris angered by a ‘fundamental lacking’ in ‘commitment, focus, and passion’.
Morris swung the axe on McClaren following a dismal 3-0 defeat at Brighton that extended Derby’s run to one win in nine Championship games and leave the team ten points off the play-off places.
Gary Rowett is the leading candidate to take over and sources have told Sportsmail the club is in discussions with a manager. Chris Powell’s departure as assistant suggests whoever takes over will bring a backroom staff and Rowett, who lives locally, is known to value the coaches he worked with at Birmingham.
McClaren made a surprise return to the club last October after Nigel Pearson’s dismissal, 18 months on from being sacked by Morris for the first time. Initially he gained good results but performances have nosedived since February.
Sources indicate senior players not signed by the former England manager during his first spell held reservations about his style and Morris made clear his feelings that promotion to the Premier League would be better served by a new face
In a stinging statement, Morris said: ‘Steve is a great coach, we have very talented players and first class facilities but the heartbeat, commitment, focus and passion has been lacking something fundamental.
‘The Brighton game on Friday night was so far from what we expect to see from those wearing a Derby County shirt.
‘To ensure we are on the right path, it is important to put the building blocks in place so we can develop a team we can all be proud of.
‘Players should wear the shirt with pride and share, espouse and exude the qualities and values we believe are important to the club, its supporters and the community.
‘We need a manager who shares our values and who is prepared to develop the team, staff and processes that will set us on course for a sustainable place in the Premier League.
‘We are less concerned about timescales than we are about getting things right. Of course we would like to achieve this sooner rather than later.
‘That manager will of course be given the full support and backing of myself, the board, our executive team and staff to shape and develop the team around those who truly and demonstrably want to be part of Derby County.’
The club said it expected to make an announcement in relation to McClaren’s successor ‘in the next few days’. Technical director Chris Evans, brought back by McClaren, has also left the club.
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