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Gaffer on a Sunday

17 November 2013

Steve Evans talks to

Steve Evans was back at the training ground this morning so we took the opportunity to catch up with him to reflect on yesterday and the 3-0 victory over Stevenage FC.

You have now watched a re-run of yesterday's game, how do you look back on the performance?

On paper it was always going to be a very tough afternoon. We travelled to face a Stevenage team who had won their last five home matches, it has to be said winning them with something to spare.

We prepared the team to face not only a physical battle but to face a number of quality players and against a manager who will have done his homework on us to ensure his own team are ready.

Our lads produced an outstanding display, full of desire, energy, passion and what came out then was the ability. The lads played some wonderful football, our passing and play interchanges were a joy to watch. 

We looked strong in every area of the team and that continued even after we used our three substitutes. 

I have said many times this squad of players work so hard but is there any other way I ask myself. It is very hard to single out any players when the team perform like we did but O'Connor, Frecklington and Revell were simply top class. My Captain Craig Morgan produced another super performance and great credit must go to big Claude Davis who came in for his first competitive game of football in over two months, it says everything about how fit the big man is that he can go out and deliver what he did.

There was some big decisions in the week leading up to the match and of course team selection, can you enlighten us?

It has been a very difficult week and we played against three quality teams in Bradford City, Hartlepool United and Stevenage, all with very different styles and strengths. In preparing for Stevenage I was not sure Michael O'Connor would be fit because of a thigh strain and Lee Frecklington was ill for a couple of days but after thinking long and hard think I made my decision.
I also made the decision to allow Daniel Nardiello to leave. The lad has made a huge contribution to what we have achieved in the last 15 months but given where we want to go on our journey I had to make what was a very tough decision. I did not make the decision lightly and I took a few days to think it through but I'm sure as I can be that it was the right time for me to do this.

As I said yesterday, when I was lucky enough to be appointed the manager of Rotherham United the team needed a complete overhaul, in another word it needed a revolution, thankfully we are now about evolution when it comes to player recruitment. It has been made very clear to the players and staff, we need everyone here working as hard as they can every minute of every day. We need players who want to play and train with the greatest enthusiasm; they must turn up every single day and demonstrate they should be playing for Rotherham United. I make it very clear, our squad is full of ability but only those who have the desire to be successful will be here. There is always a fine line between a player thinking he has that inner desire and it actually being put into practice, it is my job to see the difference because ability wise every one of my players has that in abundance.

Every player at this football club gets treated equally, I do not do favourites. Young Ben Pringle and Mark Bradley were in the main in the cupboard when I arrived, those lads have that desire I talk about and are great examples of having that inner desire to play football here.

With Daniel Nardiello moving to Bury, are you looking to add to the squad?

The answer to that question is yes but we have to make sure we add not just any player or players but the right ones for what we need. This period in our recruitment evolution is most important to us, I need to get that right for us to move forward in what has to date been a fantastic journey.

We are having players put to me by agents or managers at other clubs on a daily basis, it has changed so much from a year ago. Our Chairman will always want value for money, he will not pay £1 more than he thinks the player is worth or wants in wages and I respect that. We have a wage structure in place at present that we must respect and those parameters will not be breached for any player. 

I know the players we want and failing them I know the alternatives, my Chairman and Chief Operating Officer are aware of those names as is my assistant manager and chief scout, no one else at this time needs to be privy to that detail.

The Chairman pays me to make tough decisions, believe me if you want to progress as a team then they have to be made. Does anyone really believe the great Sir Alex Ferguson moved on the likes of David Beckham, Roy Keane or my old mate Paul Ince from Manchester United without giving it the thought process I go through?

What is planned for the week ahead?

The lads will be back in and the hard work on the training ground will begin as we prepare for the visit of Carlisle United to the New York Stadium next Saturday.

We are hopeful that both Mark Bradley and David Worrall will return to full training, we need these guys fit as at present our options are very limited. Kari Arnason will be back with us later on in the week and again we all wish the big fella good luck on Tuesday evening as he lines up against Croatia for his country Iceland in the second leg of a World Cup qualifier.

All being well I may get the opportunity to speak to a prospective new player or two but I am awaiting telephone calls. I also have a number of community engagements and a charity event, I am honoured to help in any way I can.

You wanted to specifically send a message to the Millers supporters who travelled to Stevenage yesterday...

Yes I do. Our support yesterday and at Hartlepool on Tuesday evening was staggering. I was especially pleased yesterday that our performance demonstrated the desire our supporters show at every match. Everyone in our dressing room is often reminded how lucky we are to play for you, that is not lip service, it really does come from my heart, thanks to each of you.

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