Abdoulaye Faye marked his return to the Hull side with the winning goal, heading home early in the second half as victory at Pride Park for the third successive season saw Steve Bruce's team climb up to second place in the table ahead of Saturday's fixtures.
Robert Koren put the visitors in front, Michael Jacobs levelled things up on the stroke of half-time with his first goal for Derby.
Clough said: "We're delighted with it (the display) again, we can't ask for any more effort from the players. It's not just effort as well, they are playing some great stuff at times.
"It was a great goal from Michael, he took it very well. He's coming along nicely and improving and he's getting used to Championship football having made the step up from League Two with Northampton.
"He looked a threat when he was on the pitch and it's good to see him grow, along with the other young players like Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes. Hopefully they will continue to grow together.
"Hull will be right up there come the end of the season and that's why we are so pleased with how we played against them, there was nothing between the two teams."