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Norwich City missed their big chance insists Derby boss Steve McClaren

Johnny Russell slots Derby County ahead in a 2-2 Championship draw against Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Johnny Russell slots Derby County ahead in a 2-2 Championship draw against Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Steve McClaren admitted Norwich City have the wow factor in the Championship but they blew their big chance to beat his Derby County.

The Rams’ chief had mixed emotions watching his side pegged back in the final minutes following a gruelling week that saw them lose to promotion rivals Middlesbrough and slip out of the Capital One Cup against Chelsea.

McClaren made it clear City had no such distractions in the build-up and the visitors’ strength in depth was underlined by Neil Adams’ second-half substitutions at the iPro Stadium.

“I would say it was a very good chance for Norwich to win at Derby. Our preparation for this game was a lot different to that of Norwich,” he said. “When you have a week to prepare for a game you are going to be full of energy and they were. They have good players as well and it took everything and every ounce of effort to ward them off.

“When they got their first equaliser, I said we would have to show tremendous character to come back from that and they did. To get the players up for it emotionally was always going to be difficult.

“I was always wary of this game - against a very good Norwich team by the way who can bring on Nathan Redmond, Wes Hoolahan and Lewis Grabban. Wow, what a squad, but you have a lot of games like this in a season and it is important you grind them out. We have done that.”

The Canaries’ former academy graduate Chris Martin was key to the Rams’ response with a clever assist for Johnny Russell’s opener and a cool penalty to put them back in front after getting his body in front of Carlos Cuellar.

“He has been fantastic for us,” said McClaren. “He’ll be the first to admit it is also down to his team mates around him and the service they provide.

“He still has to do the business and he has been doing it. He was tremendous and didn’t get the rewards he deserved in terms of three points.

“We needed Chrissy to lead from the front and he did that. Johnny Russell has been a revelation for the last couple of months since he got into the team. The two of them have struck up a brilliant partnership and you saw Johnny at the end, he couldn’t move. He was still chasing, though, and helping out to try and get the result.”

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