Millwall manager Gary Rowett has questioned Derby County’s directness as he told the South London Press how his side dealt with everything the Rams threw at them.
Rowett returned to his former club Derby and walked away with all three points.
Millwall secured a 1-0 victory at Pride Park as Tom Bradshaw scored a fine first half goal before the visitors sat deep and saw out the second period with relative ease.
Speaking to reporters, Rowett praised his side’s defending. However, he also questioned why Derby went direct and ultimately played into his side’s hands.
I think Phillip Cocu mentioned they went too direct. Listen, if a team goes direct against us – and puts balls in the box – then ultimately we’re very, very good at defending them because it is part of our strength. We always knew they’d maybe come after us a little more aggressively than they normally would. Whether that was part of that, I’m not sure, but long throws into our box shouldn’t be a huge problem for us. It’s probably easier for us to deal with that than their good players causing problems in little pockets and holes that we can’t cover.
Derby County struggle to impose an identity:
Derby tried to pile the pressure on in the second half. The Rams had several corners, while fullbacks Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle put plenty of balls into the box.
Duane Holmes also opted to launch long throws hoping to cause confusion.
But Millwall stood up to it all. Defenders Alex Pearce and Jake Cooper are excellent in the air, while Derby are the only Championship side who haven’t scored a header all season.
Derby boss Phillip Cocu told reporters post-match how it wasn’t his intention to play so direct. He claimed his defenders lacked the courage to play out from the back.
The Rams are really struggling at present. They have gone five games without a win, while on the road they have lost their last five games without scoring a goal.
The pressure is starting to mount on Phillip Cocu. That said, he has been dealt a difficult hand and the current players at his disposal aren’t ideal to his way of playing.
January can’t come soon enough for Derby and they must make some additions.