Wayne Rooney admits he will adapt his “no-fear football” philosophy at Birmingham after a 2-0 defeat to Hull because his players cannot do it.
Liam Delap’s 12th-minute goal and a superb solo effort from Jaden Philogene made it a miserable St Andrew’s debut for Rooney, who has lost his first two games in charge, up against his former Derby assistant Liam Rosenior.
“You need to be brave in taking the ball, but it’s clear from the first two games that the players aren’t comfortable doing that,” said Birmingham manager Rooney.
“So there will be slight adjustments of course because we need to pick up points as well.
“I can get players up the pitch, boot the ball up the pitch and look to pick up second balls, but we need to get the balance right.
“This is on me – maybe I’ve asked them to do too much and I take that responsibility. We’re asking them to play out from the back and be more front-footed.
“I said to the lads after the game ‘if you don’t feel you can do it, tell me, and we can adjust and adapt’.
“There’s so many different elements to no-fear football. They’ve had snots and guts for the last 10 years and it’s been very difficult.
“But it’s not going to change within two weeks when the players haven’t been used to a completely different way.
“As I’m getting to know players’ strengths and weaknesses, we will find that balance to ensure we get it right.”
Fans made their feelings known to Rooney at the end of the game while the team was booed off at half-time and full-time.
“That’s part of football. You need to win games to change that,” said Rooney.
Rosenior said Birmingham fans need to be patient with Rooney as he will turn things around.
“I’d be excited if I was a Birmingham fan because I worked with him for a long time. I know his qualities as a manager and a coach,” he said.
“I ask for Birmingham fans to give him time because I know Wayne and he will get it completely right.
“He’s got so many qualities – when you had the intelligence Wayne had as a player and see how he sees the game, he’s top in the way he understands players, he makes players feel really confident in the way they play, but once he gets that time, I’m sure he will be successful.”
Rosenior said his gameplan worked a treat.
“A legend has just walked into the club so we knew we had to take the sting out of the game,” he added.
“The first goal came from really good pressing that we worked on with Liam Delap, Scott Twine and Adama Traore. After that we had complete control.”
Meanwhile, Birmingham have confirmed a 52-year-old man was arrested by West Midlands Police at the Hull game on suspicion of racially abusing Blues midfielder Juninho Bacuna during a match against Huddersfield on October 3.
“He was apprehended shortly after kick-off on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and remains in custody for questioning,” a club statement read.