Wayne Rooney found himself feeling mixed emotions after Derby County were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.
Rooney, who is leading the Rams while the search for a new permanent manager continues, admitted that while he was disappointed the side couldn’t hold on for three points that, at least, they ended a run of four successive losses.
Derby took the lead late in the first half at Pride Park Stadium as Duane Holmes converted Colin Kazim-Richards’ low cross from the right-hand side to round off a positive opening 45 minutes.
The visitors, however, struck late on to earn a share of the spoils as Matt Bloomfield scored from close range - while Garath McCleary hit the woodwork for the Chairboys in added time.
The point gives Derby a platform to build on as they look to climb off the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table following a disappointing start to the campaign.
Rooney was keen to focus on the positives in his post-match verdict and, speaking to RamsTV after the final whistle, he said: “At half-time I said to the players that a second goal was vital for us.
“We had to try and take the game to Wycombe in the second-half, be on the front and get that second goal.
“The longer it went on and we didn’t get that goal, you could feel they were getting more balls into the box, causing us a few problems, and eventually they got the goal which is disappointing.
“I think we created some very good chances. We were unfortunate not to get that second goal and, ultimately, we got punished for not doing that.
“I think that control and bit of quality we need in certain moments, especially in games like today, was missing certainly in the second-half.”
He added: “If you don’t take your chances at one end, there is always the chance that you might concede down the other end.
“It would have been great to get the three points today, but it stopped the run of losing games. We have to take the point and we have a game coming up quickly on Tuesday (at home to Coventry City) so we have to prepare well and try and take the positives.”
The game was Rooney’s first in terms of making the team and tactical decisions himself after it was collectively agreed that he would step up from the coaching quartet of himself, Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker to lead the side.
The 35-year-old withdrew himself from his playing role to ensure his focus was on managing the side.
“It was different, of course,” the former England international explained. “But the most important thing is the team.
“The one thing we can’t question is the lads’ attitude and the effort they put in today was great. They worked hard and tried everything to get the win.”
Derby return to Sky Bet Championship action on Tuesday night with a home game against Coventry City (7:45pm kick-off).