EFL

Wayne Rooney admits result was far more important than display for Birmingham

By Sports Desk December 13, 2023

Wayne Rooney admitted it was “all about winning” after the Birmingham manager celebrated his first away victory since taking charge – 1-0 at Cardiff.

The former Manchester United and England striker admitted the result was far more important than the performance, despite praising a “gritty” display.

Juninho Bacuna’s composed finish after a rapid counter-attack on the stroke of half-time proved enough to secure Rooney a second win in 10 games as Blues manager and ended a run of eight defeats in a row away from home.

“I’m delighted with the win. The performance was good but after the run we’ve been on, it was all about winning,” said Rooney.

“We dealt with Cardiff pretty well. Their set-piece is one of the best in the league and we struggled a bit with that, but in general I thought we limited them, especially in the second half.

“The performance was nothing special but we controlled things, showed plenty of grit and showed real composure for the goal.

“I was pleased with the desire to win.

“The only disappointment was that we created a few chances in the second half to break but we didn’t take care with the final pass. That has been a theme.”

Birmingham moved up to 16th in the table but face Championship leaders Leicester next.

Rooney said: “It’s crucial that we enjoy this win and build on it because we’ve got another extremely tough game coming.

“I understand the fans’ frustration that there has been a change of manager when things were going OK, but I’m confident we are moving the club forward. But until results improve, it’s hard for the fans to believe that.”

Cardiff missed the chance to move level with sixth-placed Sunderland and instead slip to 10th.

However, there were also real concern for defender Perry Ng, who was forced off after just 13 minutes with a head injury.

“He said he couldn’t see,” said manager Erol Bulut. “I don’t know what it was and I hope it is not too serious, but he just said he couldn’t see. I must speak to the medical staff.”

Bulut, meanwhile, bemoaned a tired and lacklustre second-half display that has now seen the Bluebirds score just one goal in four games.

“It’s not just the loss but the way we lost that is most disappointing,” he said.

“We did some good things in the first half but I don’t think I want to talk about the second half. We played as individuals trying to do things but that never works, you have to be a team.

“It’s not enough what we have seen in the last two games, we have to show much more. You have to fight to the end but we did not.”

Bulut was unhappy with the timing of Bacuna’s winner, deep into first-half stoppage time.

“The game should have been finished,” he said.

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