Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has revealed that he’s asked his side to take more risks this season but has admitted this could lead to issues against West Bromwich Albion tonight.
Despite a chaotic summer, significant issues during their preparations for the current campaign, and a threadbare squad, the Rams have surprised many with their solid start to 2021/22 – taking six points from six games.
Rooney deserves credit for sticking with the club during a torrid summer and for the start they’ve made this term.
Speaking to Birmingham Live ahead of Derby’s tough trip to face Albion this evening, the former England captain revealed what he’s asked his side to do differently this season.
He said: “The way we’re playing, there are going to be mistakes – I’m asking the players to play a bit differently to how we were previously. We are taking more risks, but normally we put the opposition into positions they don’t want to go into.
“It’s early days. We’re six games into the season so we will get better at it, but that’s my responsibility because I’m asking the players to play out.”
The Rams travel to the Hawthorns to take on league leaders West Brom this evening and know that they’re likely to face a stern test and a significant physical challenge.
Valerien Ismael has the Baggies playing the high-tempo and direct style of football that helped him take Barnsley to the play-offs last season, which makes them a unique opponent to come up against.
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Many, many people were writing Derby’s chances of staying in the Championship off completely ahead of the season but they’ve made a solid start despite the many challenges facing them.
It seems Rooney has asked his players to take more risks and play more fearlessly this term, which so far certainly seems to be working out.
There’s a long way to go yet but the Rams’ performances on the pitch have at least restored a bit of positivity at Pride Park.
Taking too many risks against this West Brom team could be fatal, however, as Ismael’s side’s intense pressing has seen them force mistakes out of team after team this season.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Rooney looks to make his side more risk-averse this evening.