Wayne Rooney's St Andrew's bow turned sour as he was jeered to the dressing room by his own supporters.
The 38-year-old ran the gauntlet at the interval AND full-time as disgruntled fans gave his brand of ‘no fear’ football the bird. Visiting fans chanted: “You’re getting sacked in the morning” - sentiments that were applauded by a section of the Brum support while some home punters at the other end of the ground joined in too.
Rooney had been appointed as a successor to John Eustace two weeks ago as the club’s American owners looked to jazz-up their on-field offering. But that backfired in calamitous fashion as Brum gifted Liam Delap an early goal and then were cut through time and again.
Veteran keeper John Ruddy performed solidly but only succeeded in delaying the inevitable and Jaden Philogene rattled home a fiercely-struck second 17 minutes from time to seal the victory.
In what might be the shortest project ever, it appeared at the final whistle that his brand of ‘no fear’ football might, after all, be binned. After just two games.
Rooney said: “I’ve spoken to the lads and asked them to be honest with me. I want them to change from being on the back foot to being more front-footed. I want the centre-halves and midfielders to get us playing. And they didn’t look comfortable. I want them to be honest. If they feel that they can’t do it, we can adapt.
“It’s something for me to look at. Am I asking too much too soon? It’s my job to fix it. I need to come up with a way of playing but implementing how I want to play.”
Asked about the crowd’s reaction, he added: “It’s part of football. You need to win games to change that. The former manager was very popular and did a good job. But do you want to be where the club has been for ten years? We’re asking players to do different things. I can deal with that. It’s part of my job. Maybe I’ve asked the players to do too much. I’m getting to know them. We'll get that right.”
Visiting boss Liam Rosenior was delighted. Not least because he had shown his players a video of Ollie Watkins’s goals for Aston Villa in an effort for them to take shots early.
That paid off when Philogene rattled in a 25-yarder. Rosenior said: “It was a great response. I was really confident from the players’ reaction early this week. The last two days have been top. We’ve got a young team that’s full of talent. We’re learning on the job. There was a determination from us tonight. We were deserved winners."
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