"When we get the points we need to be safe in this division we will start saying that we have got somewhere but there is a lot of hard work to be done before we can relax.
"Having said that, I was very pleased with the way we performed against Forest, particularly for the first 20 minutes in each half.
"We were very impressive and silenced the crowd, which was something we set out to do. We've also bounced back with two wins in the week and scored seven goals in the process - and that's very pleasing."
While Clough and Derby look onwards and upwards Forest boss Billy Davies is waiting to see whether he can add depth and experience to his squad by dipping into the loan market as soon as possible.
He said: "I am still very confident that we will get the results and points that will make us safe this season but everyone knows that we need to bring in players.
"We knew that we had some difficult games in February and March against some big-spending clubs and that's the way it is turning out.
"But there is no chance that the morale at this club will be affected and we have an astute board at this club who know what needs to be done to put this football club where we want to see it.
"We lost to Derby because we could not defend set pieces and individual mistakes have cost us but we will work with what we have got to try and put things right."
Derby were given the perfect start when Lewin Nyatanga reacted quickly to prod the ball into he corner of the net after Forest had failed to deal with a free-kick from old boy Kris Commons.
That came just six minutes into the game and Derby had a similar start to the second period when Rob Hulse glanced home a 47th-minute header from Robbie Savage's free-kick.
Derby put the game beyond Forest in the 66th minute when Paul Connolly's cross looked to pick out Hulse but we was bundled over by James Perch and Steve Davies slotted home the penalty.
Forest picked up a consolation effort two minutes from time when leading scorer Robert Earnshaw headed home a cross by Garath McCleary and although Forest had further efforts by Nathan Tyson, McCleary and Perch any further reward would have distorted the scoreline.
Derby's only concern were shoulder injuries to Nacer Barazite and James McEveley that left them playing out the last seven minutes with 10 men.