New boss Rooney backs Derby to respond after defeat by Rotherham


Soccer Football - Championship - Derby County v Rotherham United - Pride Park, Derby, Britain - January 16, 2021 Derby County manager Wayne Rooney Action Images/Molly Darlington

(Reuters) - New Derby County boss Wayne Rooney said his team's concentration levels were below par in Saturday's Championship (second-tier) loss to Rotherham United but backed them to respond strongly when they face Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Former England and United striker Rooney has called time on his illustrious playing career after being named Derby boss on Friday. He had been interim boss following Phillip Cocu's departure.

But his first game as permanent manager did not go according to plan as Jamie Lindsay scored a late winner for Rotherham to leave Derby second from bottom in the 24-team league with 19 points from 23 matches.

"The only positive ... is we play again on Tuesday. The lads know they can perform better than that, so I expect better when we play again," Rooney told reporters.

"Rotherham outfought us. Our quality on the ball and our concentration levels weren't where they should be. That's the disappointing thing. If I'm being honest, I don't think we deserved anything from this game."

Derby suffered a COVID-19 outbreak at the club recently but Rooney said that was not the reason for their disappointing performance.

"Obviously, the preparations over the last few weeks have been hampered because of COVID but that's not an excuse ... The lads looked good and sharp in training the last few days," Rooney added.

"You understand players making mistakes. But hopefully it's a one-off and we can respond properly."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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