Derby boss Wayne Rooney has revealed he has no control over which players leave the crisis-hit club this month and said they need urgent help if they are to avoid relegation.
Rooney, who saw his side make it 13 points from their last five Championship games with a 2-0 home win over Sheffield United courtesy of two superb Tom Lawrence strikes, fears their unlikely survival bid could be scuppered by the club’s off-field problems.
Rooney is unable to make signings until Derby’s administrators name a preferred bidder and knows he faces the prospect of more players departing against his will.
“The players deserve a lot of praise, because the last 24, 48 hours have been extremely difficult,” he said.
“To lose two players in Graeme Shinnie and Phil Jagielka who I wanted to keep, have players lined up to come in and not be able to do anything, has been tough, so to put a performance up like they did, they deserve a lot of credit.
“My relationship with all the players is built on trust and honesty, but I can’t look them in the eye where we are at the minute and give them anything really, I can just prepare them and get them ready.
“Any decisions made will be through the administrators. I want to keep all the players, but what I’ve said to them is that, if you want any information if clubs are in there’s nothing I can do, you have to go to the administrators.
“I feared for today if I’m honest, I think this latest one is just one step too far. The result is excellent, but we need help, this needs sorting as soon as possible.
“I said last week I think we’ll stay in this division, but if we’re in this situation for much longer it will be extremely difficult for us to do that.”
Lawrence scored twice in the space of 10 second-half minutes to settle the contest and lift Derby to within eight points of safety.
He brought the game to life in the 69th minute when he picked the ball up on the left, cut inside past two defenders and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.
His second was another high-quality effort, a curling left-footed shot from the edge of the area after Derby had caught United on the break.
United assistant manager Stuart McCall said: “Two bits of individual brilliance won them the game.
“Second half we had more possession, more of the ball but didn’t do anything with it. Most of the game was in their half, but it’s not about possession, it’s about what you do with it and we just didn’t do enough.
“We got into good wide areas, but the crossing wasn’t good enough and we weren’t bright enough in and around their box. You give the opposition credit for getting bodies in there, but we’ve to look at ourselves and we didn’t do enough.
“I think the biggest disappointment for me was when we did go a goal down we didn’t really look like getting back.”
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