Dubai: Wayne Rooney’s Derby County avoided relegation from the English second-tier Championship by the slimmest of margins on Saturday as a dramatic 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday was enough to edge them out of the drop zone at their opponents’ expense.
With results elsewhere going their way, Derby County stayed up despite a roller-coaster ride that saw them in and out of the relegation zone over 90 minutes of the final day in the Championship. Wednesday went down alongside Rotherham and Wycombe Wanderers, meaning Rooney - Manchester United's and England's all-time top scorer - should hold on to his job next season.
"It was a rollercoaster," former Manchester United and England forward Rooney told Sky Sports. "The 90 minutes today almost sums up our season. Thankfully we've done what we set out to do. I'm delighted for the players because they've given me everything.
"We will get better, I can assure you of that. It's been a very difficult season - we need to make sure now we get everything sorted off the pitch."
Rotherham had looked set to survive for much of the afternoon and would have done so had they not conceded an 88th-minute equaliser to draw 1-1 at Cardiff.
Marlon Pack's late strike broke Millers' hearts after Paul Warne's men squandered numerous chances to add to Lewis Wing's superb early opener.
Wycombe went down with a fight, winning 3-0 at Middlesbrough, having required a mathematical miracle to stay up.
Wednesday finished bottom of the table, with a six-point deduction for breaching financial rules ultimately proving pivotal.
Derby, who began a tumultuous season under Phillip Cocu before Rooney took over, finished just a single point above Wycombe to avoid falling into the third tier for the first time since 1992.
In the play-off picture, Brentford will face Bournemouth, with Swansea set to take on Barnsley.
Premier League-bound Norwich lifted the Championship trophy at Barnsley but missed out on setting a new club record of 30 wins in a league season following a 2-2 draw. Watford were the other team to have secured automatic promotion.