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POST-MATCH | Warne pleased as depleted Millers battle for point

21 December 2019

Rotherham United boss Paul Warne credited his side’s second half performance as his depleted squad battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Fleetwood Town.

The Millers boss was presented with a host of pre-match injury and illness issues across the pitch, but particularly in defensive areas, where he was forced to deploy midfielder-by-trade Matt Crooks.

Even Crooks, who turned in an admirable performance in the heart of the Millers back line, wasn’t at the peak of health, having been isolated from his teammates due to a sickness problem, leaving Warne full of praise for his makeshift Millers as they added a point to their Sky Bet League One tally.

"We were very low on numbers today. We've got illness in the camp, big time. We played a back three because we only had one centre half fit,” Warne explained after the game.

"Crooksy had to play centre half for us so we played a 3-4-1-2 because we thought that would help him out. 

"It was a tough day really. Wilesy hasn't trained all week, he's strapped up and we've only got two centre midfielders available. Wilesy being 50% of that.

"We were really down on our numbers. As bad as we were first half - and I thought we looked really edgy. You can feel it in the place, they score a goal where in fairness we've moved out quite well, Crooksy has slipped and it is a great header from the lad.

"It was a really edgy first half and then we made the change at half time, asked them to be a bit more positive and if you're going to lose a game, at least lose while having a right go.

"I think they did have a right go second half and I thought when we equalised we might go on and win it. Then we gave away a poor goal to say the least.

"When we got back to 2-2, they made changes to play five at the back and were quite happy with a point.

"All in all, I'm really pleased with the character they showed second half and if we can play like that from the start, we'll probably be better.

"We found on yesterday that he'd [Crooks] played centre half for Huddersfield in a pre-season under Mark Robins. We were quite a small side so we needed Crooksy to play there. We literally did 20 minutes of shape yesterday because Icky damaged his back, Robbo has been ill all week and hasn't trained one minute.

"Woody has been out for six weeks so it was literally Crooksy or Smudge and I just think that Crooksy is a bit more mobile. At 1-0 at half time, if you'd offered me a point, I'd have taken it.

"I'm really pleased with some performance but some more than others.

"I said to them at half-time that it wasn't good enough. You can have a bad day at the office and your passes can go astray and all that but it is difficult at home, you need to start well. We've been on about it all week and we didn't. We just didn't win the first and the second balls which was my issue.

"You can have a bad day on the ball but you shouldn't have a bad day off it. I asked them to go out and give the fans something that they want to see. They want to see crosses and shots and they want to see attacking play.

"It literally was a square pegs, round holes situation. So to come away with a point against a really good Fleetwood team leaves me reasonably pleased."


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