Huddersfield 1-0 Derby: Juninho Bacuna strikes to pile the pressure on under-fire Phillip Cocu with the Rams suffering fifth loss in six Championship games as Wayne Rooney waits in the wings
- The pressure is building on Derby manager Phillip Cocu after yet another defeat
- His team’s nightmare streak continued against Huddersfield on Tuesday night
- Juninho Bacuna fired home from a cutback to inflict misery on his compatriot
- Cocu refused to comment on his future despite wild speculation now mounting
Phillip Cocu refused to discuss his future on Tuesday night after fellow Dutchman Juninho Bacuna’s composed second-half finish heaped further pressure on him.
Bacuna converted Harry Toffolo’s cut-back eight minutes after the break to inflict a fifth defeat in six Championship matches on Derby’s under-fire boss.
It appears to be indicative of a deeper trough for a man struggling to emulate his multiple title success in charge of PSV Eindhoven since switching to English football.
Phillip Cocu refused to discuss his future after Derby fell to another defeat at Huddersfield
Juninho Bacuna fired home the only goal of the game after superbly converting a cutback
A late plunge last season of just one win from six saw the Midlands club miss out on the play offs.
Asked how he felt about his position, the 49-year-old simply did not answer.
But he did say: ‘I don’t think we deserved the defeat. If you don’t have confidence, you don’t play the first half like we did. It was a joy to watch. But, after we conceded the goal it became tough mentally.’
Cocu employed Tom Lawrence as a centre-forward, opting to leave Martyn Waghorn and Colin Kazim-Richards – two recognised strikers lacking match fitness – on the bench.
Derby’s horror streak saw them miss out on the play-offs and their poor form has continued
Wayne Rooney was missing for Derby due to the need to self-isolate under EFL guidelines
But it was not so much about the attackers on show but the one that wasn’t in West Yorkshire.
Wayne Rooney, whose goal at Norwich has accounted for all of Derby’s points thus far, is self-isolating until next Thursday under EFL guidelines, despite testing negative for coronavirus, having encountered someone who is positive.
The former England captain has been touted as a potential successor to Cocu with owner Mel Morris understood to be twitchy following more than 50 league matches under the Dutchman that have delivered more defeats than wins.
In Huddersfield, they were facing a team that has undergone an upturn in fortunes – they have accrued 10 points from four games since the introduction of Carel Eiting, an Ajax team-mate of Premier League stars Donnie van de Beek and Hatem Ziyech last season, to their midfield.
Harry Toffolo had picked out Bacuna (left) and invited him to pick his spot from a dozen yards
It was left-back Toffolo that proved the creative force, however, via a slew of surges down the flank at the start of the second half.
The third in quick succession proved decisive: with blue-and-white shirts flooding into the area, Toffolo lifted his head and invited Bacuna to pick his spot from a dozen yards.
‘More than the tactical side, it was about the character of the players. They showed an incredible effort so soon after Saturday and they got their reward for this,’ said Huddersfield manager Carlos Corberan.