What Phillip Cocu said Derby County's plan was in Sheffield Wednesday win
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Derby made light of their poor form on their travels with a convincing victory over Garry Monk’s side courtesy of a double strike by Tom Lawrence and a Jason Knight effort inside the opening half-hour.
The win was just a third on the road for the Rams and Cocu pinpointed the crucial midfield battle – which saw former England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney playing in a deeper role for the Rams – as key to his side overcoming Wednesday.
“It was a good team performance,” said Cocu. “I think we played out well from the back and they couldn’t press us and always found we had more men in midfield.
“The second half was more of a fight because we knew there would be a reaction from Sheffield, of course, when they were 3-0 down on their own pitch but I think we reacted well and kept control of the game. It was a deserved win today.”
Cocu, the former PSV Eindhoven and Fenerbahce coach, also paid tribute to the 34-year-old former England captain for executing his deeper role to perfection in Derby’s win.
“I think at the moment in the team and how the team is now it’s his best position, but of course he can play in the number 10 position or, when we play with one holding midfielder, he can be one of the two offensive midfielders,” said Cocu of his captain.
“He gives a us a lot. He’s building up together with Max Bird and they have a great connection.
“What was important today is that we could always find a way out and a way into midfield and it was important for the team today.”