Rooney questions ‘unacceptable’ Birmingham players’ pride after defeat26 December 2023
Wayne Rooney branded Birmingham's performance in their 3-1 loss to Stoke as "unacceptable" and "nowhere near good enough" as the Blues boss questioned his own players' "personal pride".
The former England captain suffered his eighth defeat since taking over at St Andrew's in mid-October as Jordan Thompson, Lynden Gooch and Andre Vidigal scored before the hour mark to give Steven Schumacher a first win as Stoke boss.
Rooney said he did not recognise his team on Boxing Day evening from the one that picked up four points from Cardiff, Leicester and Plymouth over the past fortnight, as Birmingham slipped to 19th in the table.
"It's difficult to put into words against [the performance] to be honest. Because over the last three games we've looked really good as a team and today is unrecognisable," Rooney told Sky Sports.
"It's frustrating, hard to take because I know we have got good players there, so to put a performance in like we did today is really difficult to explain.
"All of it, all of it [was upsetting]. The one bright thing was young Romelle [Donovan], when he came on. I said to the players in there that he's an example. He's young, 17 and he comes on and he's an example to the players. He comes on with character, with attitude and he wants the ball as well, that's the most important thing.
"It's very frustrating because I know we've made small steps in the last few weeks but today was nowhere near good enough. I understand the frustration from the fans, that's on me that's my responsibility of course. But as a group of players, we need more, we need to give more.
"The goals we are conceding are very poor goals. It's something we've worked on and tried to put right. Some of these are the basics of the game that we have to get right. I take responsibility for the defeat but I spoke to the team as individuals, we have to improve.
"We lost today because we didn't do the basics right. There was no crazy game plan in how we want to win the game. But what I expect as a coach is the players to do the basics right."
Rooney on potential January transfers
Birmingham's latest defeat comes a few days before the January transfer window opens and Rooney said he is looking for players to make a big impact at St Andrew's.
"I hope so. It's clear that there are issues there," said Rooney when asked if the January transfer window gives his side to address some problems.
"I don't want to make excuses but we have lost two very big players for us in Krystan Bielik and Lee Buchanan. That shows the importance of these two players.
"It's something we're looking at, we don't want players for the sake of it though. We want players who make an impact.
"The players in there are good enough. I believe that. They've shown me they can do it against big teams in this league.
"There's no excuse for putting in good performances then doing that today. It's unacceptable and personal pride has to come into it.
"Today I have questioned that because we were nowhere near good enough and not a team I want to put out."
Analysis: What is Birmingham's identity under Rooney?
Sky Sports' Jobi McAnuff:
"I am really struggling to see an identity in Birmingham They are conceding way too many goals, whether that's individual mistakes that we have seen in recent weeks or organisationally, they're just not set up well enough to keep clean sheets.
"That's what their success early in the season came from and they're too easy to play against at the moment."
Former Leicester, Fulham and Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer:
"The longer you go on without winning games, the longer you get drawn into the relegation fight. There will be pressure and questions asked and you can see the fans aren't happy with the way the team is playing.
"A new manager coming in and wanting to play a new style of play does generally takes time, but there are a lot of players who do not look confident in wanting to play he wants to play. And the longer you go on without a win, the less confidence you get in wanting to play a new style of play. There's a lot to be worked upon."
Former Luton and Stoke manager Nathan Jones:
"John Eustace did a wonderful job, he stabilised the football club and there was turbulence at the club.
"It was a bold move bringing Wayne in from America and wanting to play a certain way, so there's a big pressure on Wayne to do that. They're not getting results, managers are judged on that. It's the nature of the business."
This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/13038079/wayne-rooney-questions-birmingham-players-pride-after-unacceptable-championship-loss-to-stoke