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Phillip Cocu: Derby part company with manager with club bottom of Championship


Phillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu won 21 of his 65 games in charge of Derby

Derby County have parted company with manager Phillip Cocu with the club bottom of the Championship.

The Rams have won just one of their 11 league matches this season, the last of which was a home defeat by Barnsley.

Captain Wayne Rooney and coaches Shay Given, Liam Rosenior and Justin Walker will oversee first-team training before a permanent successor is appointed.

Former Barcelona and Netherlands midfielder Cocu, 50, won 21 of his 65 games after taking charge in July 2019.

His assistants Chris van der Weerden and Twan Scheepers have also left Pride Park by mutual agreement.

“I’m sorry Phillip and his staff have left the club and want to thank him personally for all his help and encouragement as part of his coaching staff,” Rooney said.

“The most important thing now is to stabilise the club and start moving up the table.

“I’ve been asked to be part of the coaching staff to help the team’s preparations for next Saturday’s vital match against Bristol City.

“The coaches and I will speak with the players on Monday.”

Cocu is self-isolating until Friday having been in close contact with Derby chief executive Stephen Pearce, who tested positive for Covid-19 on 5 November.

He missed their defeat by Barnsley on 7 November as Van der Weerden took charge.

The Rams are also close to a takeover after chairman Mel Morris agreed a deal in principle with Abu Dhabi-based consortium Derventio Holdings (UK) Limited.

The company is led by Sheikh Khaled bin Saquer Zayed Al Nayhan, a cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, and a new manager will not be appointed until the takeover is completed.

The deal is understood to be worth £60m, but the EFL is yet to confirm the change of ownership.

Cocu succeeded Frank Lampard, who left to join Chelsea, on a four-year deal at Pride Park.

But despite the arrival of former England captain Rooney as player-coach in January, Cocu was unable to guide the Rams to the Championship play-offs last season as they finished 10th.

Their only league win so far this season came at Norwich City, courtesy of a late Rooney free-kick. They are without a win in the past seven matches.

“The club would like to place on record its appreciation for the way Phillip and his staff conducted themselves in what were some extremely challenging situations during his tenure,” a club statement said.

Analysis

Ed Dawes, BBC Radio Derby’s Rams commentator

It’s very sad for Phillip Cocu and for chairman Mel Morris. Morris sold Rams supporters a dream of developing talent from the academy and blooding them in the first team with a balance of experience.

The pair agreed on a philosophy to make Derby sustainable. To some extent it worked at times, but the consistency in results last season and the start to this one has failed him.

Derby said goodbye to some senior players in the summer who haven’t been replaced, including striker Chris Martin, who was pivotal for the style of play.

The key thing for Cocu is that his tenure at Derby has not been like any other management role.

This includes off-the-field behaviour by players, which ended in the sacking of Richard Keogh and the sentences handed to Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett.

The timeline is dramatic and unfair on him, but at the end of the day the results this season did not happen.

The players weren’t playing for him, the style of play this season threw up so many questions and with new owners coming in, there was no way out of it for him.

Derby County is an attractive proposition for any manager high-profile or not, the fans, the academy and the stadium.

It is all there apart from the squad and ultimately it is the squad that holds the key to everything.

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