Wayne Rooney goes back to basics at Derby

Wayne Rooney's side collected a point for the first time in five matches
Wayne Rooney's side collected a point for the first time in five matches (PA Wire)
18:37pm, Sat 28 Nov 2020
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Wayne Rooney revealed how he went back to basics after Derby ended a four-game losing run with a 1-1 draw against Wycombe.

Rooney marked his first game as interim manager with a more direct style although Derby remain bottom of the Championship.

Derby controlled the first half and only Ryan Allsop kept Wycombe level with a brilliant reaction save to claw away a George Evans header.

Colin Kazim-Richards had the ball in the net only for an offside flag to cut short his celebrations but Derby finally scored their first goal in nearly eight hours in the 36th minute when Duane Holmes cleverly flicked in a low cross.

Wycombe improved after the break but Derby had a great chance to seal victory when Matt Clarke headed wide from a corner.

Allsop made another top save to deny Clarke in the 76th minute and Wycombe stunned Derby five minutes later when David Marshall could only parry a Fred Onyedinma header at the back post and Matt Bloomfield slid in to score.

Wycombe thought they had won it in stoppage time when Garath McCleary’s shot came down off the underside of the bar but did not cross the line.

Rooney said: “We were a little bit more direct than we have been in recent weeks. Today we had to change something from the way we have been playing.

“I felt the experience coming into the team was vital, I wanted experienced players on the pitch who know the league and to try and get the ball forward quicker than we have done in recent games.

“I think that was needed today. I can sit here and say we want to play football, make 600, 700 passes a game but at the minute the players aren’t in that frame of mind and aren’t confident enough to do that so the important thing for me was to try and simplify the game for the players and to get the ball forward.

“We created chances and went in at half-time 1-0 up and I stressed to the players how important the second goal is and we paid the price for not getting that second goal.

“But I have to remain positive, it’s a point, we’ve stopped the run of losing games and it’s a point we have to build on.”

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth believes the performance shows his team can survive in the Championship.

He said: “Derby definitely had the first half but second half, I thought we were the better side and for me, it’s a huge point against a club that I don’t believe will be in the bottom three come the end of the season.

“We celebrated a point in League One away at Sunderland two years ago like it was the best thing that this club had ever done so to come to somewhere like Derby County and get a point I think is just phenomenal for Wycombe Wanderers.

“We’ve only lost one in seven now in the Championship and I don’t think anyone would have said that statistic would have been read out this season.

“I’m really pleased, really proud and I firmly believe I’ve got a squad that will scrap and fight and have all the tools to stay in this division.”

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