Wayne Rooney criticised West Brom’s uncompromising style of football after his Derby side emerged with a battling point in a 0-0 draw at The Hawthorns.
Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos was the visitors’ hero with several saves while former West Brom defender Curtis Davies cleared Seyi Ajayi’s shot off the line.
Valerien Ismael’s outfit dominated on a night when they were joined at the top of the Sky Bet Championship by AFC Bournemouth with an identical record.
By contrast, Derby failed to trouble Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone with a single effort on target.
Roos denied Grady Diangana and Alex Mowatt in a second-half onslaught but kept his best until last when he blocked Darnell Furlong’s diving header to keep a clean sheet.
“Their style of football isn’t pretty but it’s effective,” said Derby manager Rooney.
“It was a poor game to watch and it’s not a very good style to play but it’s effective and if you do it right, you can pick up points.
“It’s definitely a point gained. West Brom have started the season well and it’s a tough place to come.”
Rooney was full of praise for Roos, who has been criticised and was clearly targeted by West Brom from set-pieces.
“Kelle was excellent and that’s why he is playing,” said the former England captain.
“He’s a good goalkeeper and he kept us in the game on a couple of occasions.
“It’s not just our keeper – they do that to all the keepers from their corners. They have a couple of short corners that you have to be alive to and they’re right on your keeper, but Kelle was alive to it.
“They put a lot of long balls into our box and there were some blocks on the line, and we had to put our bodies on the line, so I am pleased to come away with a point.
“We matched them and I thought the lads started well and we fully deserved to come away with a point.”
West Brom head coach Ismael believes teams are coming to The Hawthorns determined to play for a point after Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate against Millwall.
“Now it’s a clear trend against us. After five games you have a clear picture of West Brom and after the international break the opponent doesn’t want to play football against us,” said Ismael.
“They had one point before the game and they didn’t want to take any risks.
“It’s clear something is going on against us and we need to adapt to it more.”
But Ismael admitted his players must be more ruthless after dominating.
“We put in the intensity and the energy to change the game,” he added.
“We had so many chances – 26 shots, nine on target and we didn’t concede any shots, so we have to score.
“We saw that in the second half when we had chances cleared off the line, but we have to make sure we put the ball over the line.”
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