Swansea City striker Morgan Whittaker insisted he meant no disrespect to his former club Derby County when celebrating his first league goal against Wayne Rooney’s relegation-threatened men.
Goals from Whittaker and Connor Roberts in the space of four minutes saw the Swans come from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over the Rams at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, moving up to fourth place in the Championship table.
That all-important first goal for Steve Cooper’s men came from 20-year-old Whittaker, who was sold by Derby in February, with the club where he spent 12 years accepting a Swans bid in the region of £700,000.
He put a finger in each ear as if to block out the noise when he scored the equaliser, admitting it was “very strange” against his former team.
“It was about us getting the three points and me getting my first Championship goal so obviously I think I am going to celebrate,” he said.
“It was meaning no disrespect Derby. It was about us getting the points and keeping the momentum going.”
The goal from the England Under-20 international – who has made 11 appearances since his move to SA1 – could play a part in seeing his former club drop to League One next season.
From being sold by Derby in February to making it to the play-offs with Swansea just a few months later, Whittaker is well aware of the turnaround.
“It’s a nice feeling. I am just grateful to Swansea for taking a chance, buying me and giving me the chance to play.
“I am really happy playing football. Happy living down here. It’s amazing.
“I am glad to get my first goal, you are waiting for it and waiting for it and now it’s come I just want to kick on and get as many as I can.”
He insists he is focusing on the Swans and their upcoming run in the play-offs rather than dwelling on the fate of Derby.
Asked if Derby will stay up, he said: “In the Championship anything can happen. I just want to focus on us because this is where I am now and that’s what I want to focus on.
“I think it’s important to take good momentum into the play-offs.
“I think as a team we will back ourselves against any of the other three teams. As long as we focus on ourselves we will be alright.”
Rooney’s side could now be relegated next weekend if they lose to Sheffield Wednesday, or if Rotherham win twice in their remaining games.
On the performance against Swansea, Rooney said: “I don’t think we deserved to lose the game.
“Performance-wise was good, energy-wise, attitude from the players, I can’t fault them. We have to defend better, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Two moments, other than that I think we were comfortable.
“We work hard to stop those goals, so it’s disappointing. Every time we seem to switch off, we seem to concede.
“The players are fighting for each other. There is no lack of fight or character. The players will be ready for next week. We know what we have to do to stay in this league.”
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