Wayne Rooney admitted to being incredibly proud of his Derby County players and the club’s loyal supporters following the conclusion of the 2021/22 season.
Rooney’s side saw out the Sky Bet Championship campaign on home turf at Pride Park Stadium before a crowd of 29,000 on Saturday as the Derby faithful turned out in large numbers to thank the players for their efforts during the season.
Derby were unable to finish the season on a positive note as they were beaten 1-0 by Cardiff City with Jordan Hugill scoring the only goal of the game.
Rooney’s squad, alongside members of the Rams’ backroom team, embarked on a lap of appreciation following the final whistle to thank the fans for their unconditional support despite a very difficult campaign.
A 21-point deduction, for entering administration and a historical breach of profitability and sustainability rules, proved to be a mountain too big for Rooney’s threadbare and young group to overturn in their quest to avoid relegation - but it wasn’t through a lack of trying.
On The Game…
The game wasn’t played at the tempo I wanted it played at today. We knew we would get a lot of the ball; we just had to switch that tempo in the final third and play with more intensity but it is a warm day and it’s the end of the season. The lads have given everything this season, we pushed to get a good result and conceded a sloppy goal. We should never have lost the game but we have. That’s happened a lot and it’s something for us to look at and try and improve for next season.
On The Fans…
The fans have been incredible. The numbers they turned out in today was incredible. As I’ve said before, I’ve never seen a team get relegated and be applauded off the pitch like we did. As a staff and players, we’re really thankful and grateful for the support they have given us this season. It has really been a big help. I’ve said to the lads in the dressing room to take everything in and remember that because it’s rare what has happened after the game. The support the fans have given us - it has been horrendous for them, for myself and the staff and players - when it has been tough has been amazing. It’s been horrendous over the last 18 months and what we’ve tried to do is give them 90 minutes on a Saturday or Tuesday to try and forget about everything and enjoy the game and give them belief. I think we’ve done that and we couldn’t have pushed as harder or as farer as we have without the support of them every week.
On Taking Off Lawrence & Forsyth And Bringing On Roos…
They have been here, especially Fozzy, a long time. Kelle Roos, I want to keep. I’ve spoken to Fozzy and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that we are still making a decision on that but they have played in large parts of the season. Fozzy started the game and it was more for Festy Ebosele to come on and both he and Luke Plange have been excellent this season under circumstances they have had to leave the club. It was nice for them to get recognition and Tom Lawrence played with an injection today so it showed the character he has to play in the last game of the season. He felt it a bit at half time so that’s why I brought him off.
On The Players…
The lads have been incredible. When I’m seeing the performances of Tommo,, Birdy, Cashin and other players who have come into the squad, some halfway through the season and some at the start, it’s an exciting time for the fans to see these young players developing. This season will only help them.
Derby’s players will now head away on their post-season breaks before reporting back for pre-season training towards the end of June to begin preparations for the 2022/23 Sky Bet League One season.