Wayne Rooney says implementing his philosophy at Birmingham City will take time after his side suffered a third successive defeat with Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Southampton.
The result leaves Rooney still looking for his first points since taking over from John Eustace on October 11, with Birmingham falling from the play-off places into the bottom half of the table.
The 38-year-old called for patience and pointed to the slow start former Manchester United team-mate Michael Carrick experienced at Middlesbrough this season, who had to wait eight matches before they secured their first Championship win of the campaign before embarking on a six-game winning run.
“Listen, and I’m sick of going on about all the time; we’re trying to build,” Rooney told Sky Sports. “We’re trying to move forward with this club. We’ve been here just over two weeks, and that is going to take time, there’s no doubt about that.
“The players are not used to doing what we’re doing, we adapted today a bit we do need time, it was a little bit better. It takes time to make steps but also I’m fully aware we need to pick up points. We’re getting there. We are in a transition period, we’re trying to get it right, that will happen.
“There’s always pressure. It’s the Championship, it is what it is. It’s a long season. Michael Carrick lost his first five games or something like that, who had a full pre-season with the team.
“We’re working, we’re progressing and there’s big ambitions from the owners. It’s a process. And of course the fans want instant success and that’s normal but sometimes these things take a bit of time.”
Rooney was aggrieved by referee David Webb’s decision to not award his side a penalty in the first half after Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu’s high challenge on Oliver Burke went unpunished.
“I think the decision on the penalty is an absolute disgrace if I’m honest,” he added. “The information we got from the fourth official was it was minimal contact, which is crazy, so if we get (awarded) that maybe we go into the second half ready to come out again even more.”
Southampton had taken the lead inside 10 minutes as Taylor Harwood-Bellis rose highest to head home Adam Armstrong’s delivery from the left. Carlos Alcaraz doubled his side’s advantage on the 22-minute mark, stroking Kamaldeen Sulemana’s low cross into an empty net following another Southampton move down the left flank.
Jay Stansfield halved the deficit within a minute of being introduced from the bench as he spectacularly found the top corner from the edge of the area after dispossessing Kyle Walker-Peters — the first goal of Rooney’s tenure.
But Armstrong put the game beyond Birmingham with four minutes of normal time remaining as he connected with Samuel Edozie’s knock-down following Ryan Fraser’s cross, again from the left hand side. Rooney criticised the manner in which his side conceded.
“We kept going we kept fighting, we got them in a bit of trouble at 2-1 but ultimately the three goals we conceded were not good enough,” he said. “Three goals at back post, defending the box; the basics of the game.
“I’ve watched back all the games of Birmingham this season and what they have done well is defend the box so we can’t do that, we can’t give those goals up.”
Birmingham return to action on Saturday when they host Ipswich, while Southampton travel to Millwall.
Wayne Rooney greeted with boos and pessimism in his first home game as Birmingham manager
(Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images)