Half-time change key to victory, says Derby boss Wayne Rooney

Posted Sunday, January 24, 2021 by PA

Half-time change key to victory, says Derby boss Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney felt a half-time tactical change made all the difference in Derby’s 1-0 win at QPR.

Colin Kazim-Richards’ second-half goal on the counter-attack gave the visitors a second successive Championship victory.

It came after Rooney, in his third match since being appointed as Derby’s permanent manager, made a substitution at the break, replacing defender George Evans with midfielder Max Bird.

Rooney said: “We started very well and then let the game slip and lost a bit of control.

“We made a tactical change and it was about determination not to concede as we knew we’d have chances on the break. Fortunately we scored with one of those chances.

“George Evans coming off was not because of his performance but to get another midfielder in there to get control of the game.

“I’ve always been someone who can read the game. And it’s not just me – it’s the coaches and we’re talking constantly about whether we need to make a change or not.

“There will be games when I have to hold my hands up and admit I got it wrong.

“I can’t think I’m some genius and come up with crazy tactics. We’ll keep giving the players the messages we need to and keep it simple for them.”

Rooney hopes to bring new players in before the transfer window closes.

But his primary concern is for his current players, who have not been paid in full amid ongoing uncertainty off the pitch at the club.

Rooney said: “First of all the players need to get paid and then I can start looking at getting players in to help this team.

“We have to build on this now. Six points from two games is a great platform for us. We have to keep moving forward.

“I’m delighted for the players. I know I’m quite demanding of them. The minimum I ask is that they work hard and that’s what they’re doing.”

QPR manager Mark Warburton was frustrated that his side were denied what seemed a clear penalty.

Having opened the scoring, Kazim-Richards had a lucky escape when he got away with handling Ilias Chair’s corner.

The Rangers players were incensed by the decision not to award a spot-kick.

Warburton said: “I don’t think we did enough to win the game, but I don’t think we deserved to lose it.

“That was the most blatant handball you’re going to see. The players’ reaction tells you that’s an obvious handball. I’m not sure how that’s been missed.

“When you’re having a bad day and not at your best – and we were below our best for much of the game – you need those calls to go right.

“But we didn’t do enough in the first half especially. We gave the ball away cheaply and were not on the front foot.

“When you’re having a bad day, you need to do the basics well. We didn’t do that.

“We lost silly duels and gave the ball away loosely. We gave away a sloppy goal and gave them something to hang onto.

“Then, for all our possession and all the balls into the box, we lacked that bit of quality to get something out of what was a poor game of football.”


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