McClaren's last managerial job in the Championship came at Nottingham Forest, where he left following a dispute over transfers with the club's board.
"I've had my experiences after England and moving abroad - some good, some bad," McClaren said in a press conference. "Moving to Nottingham, I made mistakes, I didn't know the situation going in. I was too ambitious, wanting too much too soon. You learn from your mistakes."
When asked about Clough's dismissal, McClaren said: "This is football and you can changes direction in clubs. Football changes - you think you're doing a great job but they want to go in a different direction, we all have to accept that.
"It's not my decision, but the club's decision. All I can do is look at the good work that's gone on in the past and hope to develop and improve on that."
McClaren has arrived at Pride Park following a three-month coaching stint at Queens Park Rangers.