Derby manager Steve McClaren insists his side's 1-0 win at Blackpool stands as further evidence he possesses an even stronger squad than last year.A Chris Martin penalty 10 minutes from time secured all three points to see the Rams extend their unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to 10 games and go top of the table.
The result also marked a sixth straight clean sheet in all competitions, on-loan keeper Jack Butland taking some of the credit for this latest shutout.
And McClaren believes his squad have proved they possess far greater depth and more maturity than the side which lost last season's Play-Off Final against Queens Park Rangers.
"I believe the squad is stronger than last season," McClaren said. "I mean we're leaving out players and bringing in internationals in the likes of Jeff Hendrick. That's pleasing.
"It's the maturity of the group too. We wouldn't have got six clean sheets on the bounce last season.
"We were very innocent, running about all over the place playing good football and sometimes not getting the results because of it.
"The maturity of the squad, knowing how to win and what it takes, there's determination in there. We were a young team, we still are a young team but they are showing that maturity."