The Rams take on QPR in the play-off final at Wembley on Saturday and McClaren suggests the two sides battling it out for promotion are there justifiably so.
Derby finished third on the table, five points ahead of fourth-placed QPR, while Wigan Athletic and Brighton & Hove Albion were well behind in fifth and sixth which prompted the following comments from McClaren.
"Just because we finished third and quite a few points in front of the other teams it doesn't mean we will go up, football isn't like that," he said.
"In football you don't always get what you deserve. We're just pleased for the club - for the likes of (chief executive) Sam Rush, the supporters and the city as a whole.
"We've developed very quickly and got into the play-offs and finished third with a record points total and as top goalscorers.
"So in that respect I think the right two teams have made it through.
"Leicester and Burnley were the top two teams in this division and it's good to see that ourselves and QPR, who finished third and fourth, have reached the final. You could say we both deserve to be there and we'll see how the cards fall on Saturday."
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