Wayne Rooney takes the blame for Derby’s 4-1 rout at Middlesbrough – but is praise by Chris Wilder12 February 2022
Wayne Rooney takes the blame after Derby were the architects of their own downfall in 4-1 rout at Middlesbrough... but ex-forward wins praise from opposite number Chris Wilder despite acrimony between the two clubs off the pitch
- Wayne Rooney's Derby were well beaten 4-1 by Middlesbrough on Saturday
- The two sides have been embroiled in a legal row, with bad blood between fans
- But Boro boss Chris Wilder praised Rooney for the 'brilliant' job he is doing there
There was hostility in the stands, but respect in the dugout after Middlesbrough comfortably saw off Derby to move into the Championship play-off spots.
Bad blood between the two sets of supporters stems from the threat Boro owner Steve Gibson held over Derby for a potential loss of millions of pounds, while Mel Morris was trying to bankroll a Premier League charge.
With that hanging over them, no prospective owners have been able to take over the beleaguered Pride Park club, operating with a 21-point deduction this season.
Middlesbrough beat Derby 4-1 on Saturday, with Boro winger Isaiah Jones getting three assists
It has been a baptism of fire for Wayne Rooney as a manager, but he has earned the respect of Boro counterpart Chris Wilder — a veteran of two decades in the job.
'I think he's done a brilliant job,' Wilder said. 'I know how difficult it is. I see so many players and managers take the easy route out. They are certainly not doing that. They are alive and kicking.
'For them to be in touch is a brilliant achievement and I'm sure it's not finished yet.'
But Derby boss Wayne Rooney (right) won praise from Boro counterpart Chris Wilder (left)
Derby were the architects of their own downfall as they gifted Boro the opener after a quarter of an hour. Liam Thompson should have cleared but was tackled by Isaiah Jones, whose cross was steered into his own net by makeshift centre half Lee Buchanan.
Derby's equaliser was one of real quality as Max Bird struck a brilliant 25-yard volley when a free-kick was cleared out to him. But they were level for just five minutes before the hosts, led by the irrepressible Jones, scored twice in four minutes before the break.
First Aaron Connolly had his shot deflected off Curtis Davies and wrong-foot goalkeeper Ryan Allsop before more fancy footwork from Jones tormented Derby's left side again.
The match was mired by bad blood between the two sets of supporters due to legal issues
He grabbed his third assist when his cross was tapped in by Matt Crooks. Crooks had earlier been booked for a challenge on Bird, which Rooney said deserved a red.
Substitute Duncan Watmore added a fourth in the 89th minute after more poor defending.
Boro moved up to sixth, while Derby remain four points from safety. 'It's a disappointing result but I take responsibility for it,' said Rooney. 'It may be good timing as a reminder of where we are at and not to get complacent.'
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