Wayne Rooney admitted Derby County’s 4-0 defeat at Cardiff City in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday night was a ‘poor result’ and has stressed the most important thing now is the reaction that his side show.
Derby were comprehensively beaten in the Welsh capital as the hosts continued their impressive run of form under Mick McCarthy.
Leandro Bacuna swept the Bluebirds into the lead midway through the first half from inside the penalty area, before two quickfire goals after the interval put the game out of the Rams’ reach.
Kieffer Moore headed in a corner at the near post before Bacuna added his second of the game from distance before the hour mark to put the home side in complete control.
Will Vaulks added a fourth in injury time to move Cardiff into the play-off places.
Rooney shuffled his pack for the match, making six changes from last Friday’s 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest, and was quick to admit his side did not perform to the standards they have set themselves since taking over as manager earlier in the campaign.
The 35-year-old, as ever, was honest in his assessment of the 90 minutes and says it is important for his side to show a reaction as quickly as possible.
Speaking to RamsTV after the final whistle, Rooney said: “It is a poor result. I think it was a tough game for us, they physically over-powered us at times.
“I felt in the first half we had a certain amount of control, but in the final third we did nothing.
“We didn’t get balls into Lee Gregory, we didn’t run in behind and I think we almost focused too much on trying to play and how we were with the ball rather than our movement off it.
“I felt coming out in the second half that the game was still there for us and we could get something out of it, but to concede the early goal after half-time didn’t help.”
Rooney added: “The important thing is the reaction now.
“Of course, it hurts when you lose, it hurts when you lose the way we did tonight and we will be looking for a reaction on Saturday.”
Rooney handed starts to recent loan signings Teden Mengi, Beni Baningime, George Edmundson and Lee Gregory, while there was also a second start in 2021 for youngster Louie Sibley.
The Derby boss admitted he felt it was the right time to utilise his squad with the games continuing to come thick and fast before the international break later this month.
Rooney said: “Some players were in need of a rest. We have gone through a very difficult time physically and I felt that tonight was a chance for some players to come in and try and impress me and try and work their way into the team.
“It is always a gamble; I know that and it hasn’t paid off. Now we have two more tough away games coming up at Coventry City and Barnsley and we have to get ready for them.”
Derby return to Championship action on Saturday when they head across the Midlands to face Coventry City at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).