Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has labelled Barnsley as “the most direct team I have possibly ever seen” after the two sides played out a goalless draw at Oakwell last night.
The draw was a good result for the Rams as they ended in-form Barnsley’s seven-game winning run and put an end to a two-match losing streak of their own.
The Tykes had the better of the chances, with Kelle Roos’ excellent save to keep out Conor Chaplin from close range arguably the game’s decisive moment, but the visitors weren’t without opportunities of their own at Oakwell.
Speaking after the game, Rooney revealed that his team had changed their approach to try and better match up with their hosts.
“We have seen teams play football here but we thought the best way was to play Barnsley at their own game and be more direct,” the Derby boss explained (via the Barnsley Chronicle’s Doug O’Kane).
“Barnsley are the most direct team I have possibly ever seen and, in fairness, we were like that tonight.”
He added: “I am not knocking Barnsley in any way. They are having a fantastic season, they are just doing what they have to do. We just had to match them and get in their faces.”
The result leaves the Rams seven points above the relegation zone, though 22nd-placed Rotherham United do have three games in hand on them.
Barnsley, on the other hand, are in possession of the final play-off spot and have a two-point cushion over Bournemouth in seventh.
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You have to give Rooney credit for the tactical changes he made and the fact that his side picked up a good point by ending the Tykes’ winning run.
While on the surface these claims are likely to frustrate Barnsley fans and this is something of a backhanded compliment, they should take joy from the fact that Derby went to Oakwell and changed up their game plan completely to try and deal with them.
The Rams gave Barnsley a lot of respect in last night’s game but given where they are in the table and the result, it was nothing less than they deserved.