Derby manager Paul Clement was frustrated by his side’s toothless display at Sheffield Wednesday, but believes the goalless draw at Hillsborough could prove “very valuable” come the end of the season.
The Rams were a shadow of the side that so impressively won at fellow Championship promotion hopefuls Hull last time out, especially in the first half when only a lack of cutting edge and a fine Lee Grant save from Ross Wallace kept the hosts out.
It was not until the 67th minute that the visitors finally mustered a shot on target, although they almost snatched victory late on when a fierce Bradley Johnson strike ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar.
The 0-0 draw means Derby have lost just once in 14 matches, but that was of little consolation for Clement.
“I didn’t think we played very well today - I was very disappointed at the end of the first half,” said the Derby boss, who confirmed full-back Stephen Warnock has gone to hospital after taking a blow to the ribs.
“We hadn’t created anything, only the half-chance when Cyrus (Christie) crossed from right and Chris Martin got some contact with a header but it was well wide of the post.
“It was slightly better in the second half and in the end we were only a crossbar away from nicking it, but I think overall it was probably a fair result.
“They’ve had slightly more chances. There was a good save from Lee in the first half with the Wallace dipping shot. Apart from that, they didn’t have anything else that was really clear-cut.
“There was some long-range shots that were over the bar and a header from a corner late on, so it was probably a fair result overall, but I was disappointed with our attacking display today.
“Credit to them and the way they defended - tight lines, a lot of pressure on the ball, doubling up and they’ve got confidence here at home. They’ve got a good home record.
“That might prove to be a very valuable point at the end of the season.”
Wednesday counterpart Carlos Carvalhal tried to remain philosophical after the 0-0 draw, but clearly felt this was a case of two points dropped.
“If we are in the top six, whatever,” the Portuguese said when asked about missing the chance to move into the play-off spots. “I think more important is the way we are doing things.
“Today we played with Derby - one of the strongest teams in the Championship, a team that has played very well.
“I analysed the game and I think they played very well, but today I think we played better than the opponent.
“I am not saying we are better than Derby, but today I think we had more quality on the pitch.
“This is good for us, this is good for the future. Where you are in the table, I don’t think it is important as it’s December.
“In May, it can be important but not at this moment. It is important that we’re in a process.”