Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
As he arrived at the Millers training ground this morning manager Steve Evans was firmly looking at Tuesday’s game with Preston, but firstly he spoke about yesterday’s victory over Carlisle.
Another great victory yesterday over Carlisle United courtesy of two excellent finishes from Wes Thomas and Kieran Agard, how do you look back on the performance?
I have now had time to watch the full match back on the DVD and when that happens you are always in the position to speak with more clarity. Everyone who watched the match will know Rotherham United dominated for long periods and it should have been over as a contest by half-time but we failed to take the clear chances we made.
To go away from home, have 19 efforts at goal, have eight corners for us and none to the home team again demonstrates how much we controlled the match.
I was also disappointed not to have been awarded two penalties in the second-half. Kieran Agard and Ben Pringle looked to be fouled in the penalty box, but the match referee obviously thought otherwise. I asked the referee afterwards about those decisions and he gave me his explanations, I remain disappointed but he is a good official and a very honest guy so we move on.
Kieran Agard got us the winning goal in added time but for me the goal had been coming as at times we laid siege to their goal. The question was always going to be whether we would run out of time. It was a great move involving a number of players and textbook training ground work with the cross and finish.
More and more now away from home our supporters are making a noise that in turn makes it like a home match. We need that level of support, I am always grateful and I can tell you all the lads appreciate what we get.
A few players looked to have come through a battle yesterday as several limped off at the end, how is everyone this morning?
All the lads except Alex Revell will be fine. The big man got a cut to his eye and is now doubtful for Tuesday night at Preston North End. It is disappointing because he was outstanding yesterday as was Richie Smallwood, Lee Frecklington and Claude Davis. Kari Arnason was back to his best and when he plays like the way he is now then you understand why he is a full International player for his country.
Craig Morgan and Mark Bradley are both flack available so that is a further boost as we will need as many of our squad available as we can possibly get. This s a crucial part of the season and we need every option available to us.
Another late goal, again do you put this down to the fitness levels which have come in for much praise recently?
Fitness for a footballer is always about body fitness and mental fitness, they come as one. Paul Raynor and Paul Warne carry out the work schedule to the finest detail and both deserve enormous credit. I have always said everyone at Rotherham United is part of a team, we have unity and there can be no other way if we are to be successful.
We all know how tough it is to keep in this League One play-off group, far tougher than some would think or give credit for but we are all working hard for the cause.
We have a great squad in the dressing room, they have a great desire. As I have said on numerous occasions those that lack that leave here, simply we do not want players who lack desire, attitude and who don't want to work hard every day, let other clubs have those guys.
On Tuesday evening we travel to face Preston North End, another really tough game on paper, your early thoughts?
There is no doubt Preston are a quality team. They have an outstanding squad of players and they are led by a very experienced manager in Simon Grayson, a man I have the highest regard for.
Preston will be organised, efficient and they have top class players so that is a good recipe for any team to have. They will also be backed by a superb home support at Deepdale, they really do get behind their team. Hopefully we will take a healthy away following and in turn it should ensure a great atmosphere. I can say now we will need to be at our very best to get something from the evening but we travel there in good form and are looking forward to the match.
I travelled to watch them at MK Dons last Tuesday evening, it is a match they drew but dominated and missed a number of clear cut chances so we know where their strengths are. As I said we expect a tough evening but I have nothing but total faith in my team.
Finally, I know you wanted to praise Kieran Agard after he scored his 16th goal of the season yesterday?
Yes I do, Kieran is a young man with a fantastic attitude. He comes to work every single day with a smile, wants to work hard and improve, that is now paying dividends.
His goal yesterday has come after hours of practice with Paul Raynor, everyone is delighted for him but as I keep telling him, his biggest asset is his willingness to work as hard as he does. He is the perfect example of the type of players we want at the Millers, huge desire, commitment, honesty, ability and appreciates what we have here.