Cocu hails re­silient Derby af­ter apol­ogy to sup­port­ers

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Football -

Derby County man­ager Phillip Cocu ad­mit­ted there was more at stake than just a game of foot­ball af­ter his team ended a tur­bu­lent week with a 3-2 win over Birm­ing­ham City on Satur­day.

Cocu and Derby owner Mel Mor­ris spoke to fans be­fore the game to apol­o­gise for the in­ci­dent in which Tom Lawrence and Ma­son Ben­nett were charged with drink-driv­ing and cap­tain Richard Keogh suf­fered a sea­son-end­ing knee in­jury.

Cocu said: “It was very pos­i­tive and it shows the af­fec­tion and im­por­tance of Derby County for Mel, the owner. He re­alises and knows how im­por­tant the re­la­tion­ship of the fans is to the club. There was a lit­tle bit more at stake to­day than just a game of foot­ball.

“It’s a tough week but it’s more im­por­tant how we deal with it as a club and for my part as a man­ager.”

West Bromwich Al­bion are top of the Cham­pi­onship af­ter a 2-0 vic­tory at Queens Park Rangers, de­scribed by man­ager Slaven Bilic as their best per­for­mance of the sea­son.

Al­bion ex­tended their un­beaten start to the Cham­pi­onship cam­paign with goals from Nathan Fer­gu­son and Matheus Pereira.

Bilic said: “Straight from the start, we were on the front foot. I thought we were very, very, very good.”

Al­bion’s next op­po­nents, to­mor­row, are Leeds United, who are fourth, two points be­hind, af­ter los­ing 1-0 at Charlton Ath­letic.

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