Uwe Rosler told FL72 that Championship play-off finalists Derby are the epitome of a 'modern-day football team'.
The Rams thrashed Brighton 4-1 at the iPro Stadium to record a 6-2 victory on aggregate and seal a Wembley showdown with either QPR or Rosler's Wigan.
Rosler was left salivating over the display put on by County, who finished third in the regular season behind Leicester and Burnley, missing out on automatic promotion by eight points.
But the German did not agree with 19-year-old midfield dynamo, Will Hughes, being named Man of the Match for Steve McClaren's outfit.
"It was a very impressive demonstration from Derby and McClaren got everything right," said Rosler, whose side head into Monday's second leg with QPR at Loftus Road all square.
"They have everything you need in modern-day football: the engine-room is massively strong, they have a team full of technique and they have a goal-getter up front.
"Hughes' goal was world class, too, but George Thorne was my Man of the Match.
"He gave licence to Hughes and Jeff Hendrick to bomb into the box and showed so much intelligence, knowhow, technique and physicality.
"To keep John Eustace out of the team you have to be special - and he is.
Derby racked up 84 goals over the course of the 46-game campaign - the most in the division - while striker Chris Martin took his individual tally in all competitions to 25 with County's second at the weekend.
But Rosler says that because his side have experience of playing at Wembley - they won the FA Cup there last season and reached the venue again this term for an FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal - that could give them the edge if they meet The Rams on May 24.
"Derby generated one of the best atmospheres I have seen in a long time at home to Brighton," said Rosler, who took up his post at The DW Stadium in December after a stellar two-year spell with Brentford.
"But any team can be beaten and Wembley is a different atmosphere, so if we can get there maybe we will have the advantage."