Paul Warne had every reason to be a delighted man after seeing his Rotherham United side win for the first time since the opening day of the season and do so in style.
Despite the early distraction of a suspension of the match due to a drone over the stadium, the Millers scored three first-half goals against a 10-man Sheffield Wednesday to take bragging rights in a South Yorkshire derby.
On making their luck
Warne didn’t believe that the performance from his team was as good as in some recent games which they didn’t manage to win, but says they earned the slices of luck that swung the contest their way.
“I don’t think we were at our absolute best to be fair,” he admitted. “There were pockets of play where we did well, there were things that we need to improve on, but my overall emotion is pride.
“I asked the lads to work harder than the opposition. We always try to press high. It’s a high-risk strategy because the best players can break through it, as (Barry) Bannan did a few times early on. They could have scored early on.
“But overall I’m pleased. I think the harder you work the more luck you get. Like the penalty and the sending off came from Flo (Josefzoon), who has only been at the club a couple of weeks, running from the right wing right across the middle of the pitch and chasing a lost cause. Sometimes you get a bit of good luck from hard work, and our team definitely worked hard.”
On cutting edge
Rotherham lost out to Championship leaders Reading in their previous game as a failure to find the back of the net proved costly, but there were no such concerns for their attacking abilities this time.
Warne said: “We did a lot of work from the game on Saturday. I thought we were excellent against Reading but just didn’t have any cutting edge.
“I thought we had more cutting edge tonight. The wingers caused problems. I just felt we were a bit better in the final third. I don’t mind players losing it in the final third, but it’s an entertainment business. We want crosses, we want shots, we want goals. We need a bit more cutting edge.
“Freddie (Ladapo) led the line really well tonight and there were some really impressive performances. I still think we can get better but I’m not being greedy or trying to be disingenuous about our performance. We’re really pleased with it.”
Rotherham had gone six games without a win since their opening-day victory at Wycombe Wanderers, and Warne admitted: “It is a relief. Three points in this league are like golden nuggets.
“It’s (all) about trying to win games. The last time we were in the league we drew too many games.”
Rotherham were in supreme control by half-time, three goals up with an extra man, but Warne wasn’t sure it was all over having been part of a turnaround from that position last season, at Solihull Moors in the second round of the FA Cup.
“I remember last year in the FA Cup we were 3-0 down and we turned it around I kept thinking ‘please, for goodness’ sake…’,” he said.
“I had the longest wee break in history, thinking ‘please, if I come back out and we’re still 3-0 we must be getting close…’ It was a very nervous wee!”
On the unexpected stoppage
The match was perhaps most notable for the pause in play because of a drone over the New York Stadium, and Warne joked about how strange the occasion was becoming.
He said: “It was a little bit surreal that. It was weird playing against Sheffield Wednesday at home with no fans, that’s one thing, but a drone adds something else. I was waiting for a snowstorm, a flood, or frogs from the sky!
“We joked with them in the dressing that in four minutes you kept a clean sheet and looked quite good, if you can just do that for another 90 we’ll have a right chance. But the lads were all alright and pretty relaxed.
On Jamie Lindsay
Lindsay produced an all-round stellar performance, combining his expected defensive duties with two goals at the beginning and end of the first half.
“Jamie had to do the dog work tonight,” said Warne. “He had to mark Bannan and it’s like marking Messi. I’ve got a lot of time for him and I thought he did really well out of possession to get close to Bannan and try to stop him being like the quarter-back.
“Then for him to get away and score the first one was pretty monumental. You don’t very often see a centre midfielder outjump a centre-half and lob a goalkeeper with a header, that was a pretty unique goal.
“And then to score a second goal, and it’s just fitting for him to get a brace. It sounds awful but the hard-working players in the team, the donkeys in the team, don’t get the praise that they deserve. Tonight Jamie can go home after scoring a brace feeling well happy with his night’s work.”