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Rams still in trouble, admits Clough
Published : 19 Apr 2009 11:27:14
Clough was left frustrated at Selhurst Park on Saturday after his team failed to take advantage of Victor Moses' 61st-minute dismissal, Kuqi striking just three minutes after the sending-off to inflict a defeat that leaves Derby sitting five points clear of the bottom three with three games remaining. And the Pride Park chief insists the Rams still have work to do before they can start planning for next season. Following the 1-0 defeat in south London, Clough said: "We have to win one out of last three games - or at least get a couple or draws - if we want to be okay. "We didn't take our chances, especially the one that fell to Rob Hulse in the 94th minute. "I thought we had got to grips with the game in the second half but I think they had a feeling of injustice over the sending off and that seemed to galvanise them." Palace manager Neil Warnock admitted that Moses' sending-off was the turning point and insisted referee Andy Woolmer made a big mistake. Moses was booked for diving on the stroke of half-time and then collected a second caution for a foul on Mile Sterjovski when he appeared to play the ball. Warnock said: "The referee got it completely wrong. Victor was touched for the first one and then he played the ball for the second. "But the sending off won us the game. It seemed to give us more urgency." Warnock added: "Shefki Kuqi worked his socks off and he capped it off with a great goal. "Overall it was a great effort by us when you consider all the injuries we had." Derby were in greater need of the points but there were few signs either side was capable of breaking the deadlock in a dull first half. Derby finally showed signs they were upping the tempo when Sterjovski and Kris Commons combined to open up the home back four to free Stephen Pearson moments before the break. And the visitors would have gone into the break one up if Pearson had shown more composure and picked out team-mate Hulse who was lurking just five yards from goal. Clough's side maintained the momentum after the break when - with Commons at the heart of all their good work - they began making inroads into the Palace back four. But three minutes after Moses had been dismissed, poor Derby defending allowed Kuqi to collect Clint Hill's header and the striker lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Stephen Bywater from the edge of the box. Derby's efforts to get back on level terms looked set to fail until Barry Bannan whipped a 94th-minute cross in towards Hulse only for the striker to volley over from just six yards.