Derby boss McClaren heaps praises on promotion 'certainties' Albion

Derby County boss Steve McClaren and Albion manager Chris Hughton

Derby County boss Steve McClaren and Albion manager Chris Hughton

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Steve McClaren has heaped praise on Brighton & Hove Albion and said they are a certainty for promotion.

The Derby County manager saw his side picked apart in a 3-0 defeat to the Seagulls in Friday night's Championship fixture.

Goals from Anthony Knockaert, Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray, who particularly impressed the former England manager, sent Albion level on points with leaders Newcastle United and nine ahead of third-placed Huddersfield.

McClaren was full of positive words for Chris Hughton's side and said: "I think it was a dose of reality. It's kind of how far Brighton have come, they will go up for certain. Physically strong, running, dealing with the ball.

"I thought (Glenn) Murray was outstanding. He's been a great signing and is a great target man. He has physicality, a real man and a threat. They are a team that is going up. It shows the gap.

"I wouldn't say we have gone backwards, I'd say stood still, but if you stand still you go backwards. It was a reality check and we have had quite a few.

"I think this Championship has changed in the 16 months I have been away, teams have really kicked on. Your Huddersfield your Leeds in terms of physicality, but also, a lot more teams want to play football. We need to take the lesson from Friday and kick on ourselves.

"They were far better than us, we were second best and that's not good enough."