Paul Warne post-West Bromwich Albion...
ROTHERHAM United boss Paul Warne was quick to pay tribute to the efforts of his players, despite their relegation to League One being confirmed following their narrow reversal at West Bromwich Albion.
The Millers hopes of taking their Championship survival fight to the final day were boosted when they took a deserved lead at The Hawthorns thanks to Clark Robertson’s fine header but West Brom killed off their ambitions when Jay Rodriguez netted from the spot before Rakeem Harper notched the decisive winner, just minutes later.
However, Warne’s side refused to throw in the towel and Joe Newell struck the crossbar before sub Richie Towell had a goalbound effort blocked, in the final seconds.
Speaking to the assembled media afterwards, Warne, while rueful his side missed an opportunity to extend their survival fight for another week, was proud of his side’s display against the play-off participants.
“I thought we were outstanding today.” Warne enthused.
“I thought we were by far the better team in the first half and we deserved to go in at the break one up, but it wasn’t to be.
“I wanted the lads to keep the intensity up at the start of the second half. We started the second half really well and we took the lead.
“I’m hugely disappointed with the first goal because it was our throw in, in the bottom corner. They win a penalty and then there is a massive swing in the game.
“We had to play a shape which is high-risk to get a winning goal and we were open to the counter attack and we ended up losing the game which I don’t think was fair as we hit the bar and hit the post.
“I’m really proud of how we played and how we tried to take the game to them. The lads were excellent.”
Warne admitted that the final whistle brought emotional scenes amongst the Rotherham players and staff – with the realisation that they will be plying their trade in England’s third tier, next season, despite their brave efforts throughout their Championship campaign.
“The final whistle was tinged with disappointment,” Warne stated.
“We all walked over to the fans and all the fans stayed and clapped the team off. A lot of the team were crying, as they were in the dressing room.
They’ve given everything to the club. There is no shame in what’s happened. I’m really proud of the group. It will hurt but we will pick them up for Middlesbrough.
“We try and get the lads as good as they can be. We set up as well as we can. I don’t see any criticism levelled at the team. They have been absolutely amazing.
“It’s been disappointing but it’s been exciting. We have tried to go toe-to-toe with some good clubs and I hope we’ve made people proud in the town.”