Phillip Cocu’s unbeaten start to life as Derby County manager came to an end on Tuesday night, with Bristol City running out 2-1 winners at Pride Park.
The Rams had battled hard to grind out a point against Stoke City last time out with Martyn Waghorn grabbing a brace at the Bet365 Stadium, but they failed to replicate any kind of performance in midweek.
Cocu’s side were made to pay for sloppy defensive errors and a series of misplaced passes in midfield when Andi Weimann and Josh Brownhill netted two first half goals, helping the Robins to a 2-1 win despite Jack Marriott’s late consolation.
The night rounded off what had been a mixed start to Cocu’s tenure of the Rams – they have won just one of their opening four league games, putting in two below-par performances in front of their home fans.
After losing the likes of Harry Wilson and Mason Mount back to their respective parent clubs in the summer, it wasn’t going to be too much of a straight-forward job for Cocu as he takes his first steps into management in England.
They have shown real signs of promise in the early stages of the campaign, especially in the 2-1 win against Huddersfield Town on opening day. Speaking exclusively to Football League World Chief Editor Sam Rourke, Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham gave his thoughts on Cocu’s tenure thus far, and whether he is capable of guiding the Rams to promotion this term.
“He’s brought some really good players in. I thought Dowell was absolutely outstanding against Stoke at the weekend. I’m not saying that he’s a like-for-like replacement for Mason Mount, but he can definitely take up that position. I think Matt Clarke on loan from Brighton looks like another really good addition too.
“He’s not afraid to change things around. They’ll be expecting to be there or thereabouts this season, and obviously they have Wayne Rooney who’s going to be coming in in around January time.
“They’ll be looking at it and feeling that they are in a really good position to be challenging, and you have to say that there’s no team that you think will take the league by storm this year.”