Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has revealed that he decided to withdraw Ravel Morrison at halftime during the Rams’ goalless draw with Swansea City due to tactical reasons.
The Rams ensured that they headed off into the international break with another important point on the board as they maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign on home soil.
It was a battling performance from Derby against Swansea with the away side dominating the ball for prolonged periods and forcing the Rams onto the back foot.
That was especially the case during the opening 45 minutes and it was difficult for Rooney’s side to get out at times.
Rooney made the decision to bring Morrison off at the break and brought Dylan Williams onto the field for the second 45 minutes.
It was a decision that helped the Rams improve at halftime and they were able to ease some of the pressure on their defence that had mounted in the first half.
Morrison endured a quiet first 45 minutes with the midfielder unable to influence things for the Rams in possession. He managed to have just 18 touches of the ball and could not really get into the game.
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Speaking to Derbyshire Live following the goalless draw with Swansea, Rooney insisted that he brought off Morrison purely for tactical reasons. While he also insisted that the change worked in allowing the Rams to move to a back five that helped see out the game.
He said: “It was purely a tactical decision.
“I could see how the game was going, I knew they would have more of the ball and it was going to be a game where you would have to dig in. We defended more than we would be attacking, so I felt it was suited to go to a back five.
Rooney does not seem to have been majorly disappointed with Morrison’s performance in the first half against Swansea and it seems like it was more of a case of getting an extra defensive body onto the field to help the Rams avoid defeat.
That was a brave decision by Rooney because Morrison is the sort of player that could have influenced things more positively going forwards for the Rams after the break.
However, the introduction of Williams and move to five at the back worked well for Derby and enabled them to get to grips with the game and deny Swansea some of the dangerous moments they had been creating in the first half.
Morrison should not be too worried about being taken off against Swansea, the midfielder remains a key player for the Rams this season but perhaps this will be something of an extra motivating factor for him when he returns from the international break.