MILLERS chief Paul Warne was quick to praise his side’s efforts against promotion-chasing Sheffield United, despite their short trip to Bramall Lane ending in defeat.
Goals either side of the interval from former Millers loanee Jack O’Connell and Mark Duffy sealed a comfortable victory for Chris Wilder’s high-flying outfit – but with Rotherham playing over an hour with just 10 men following skipper Will Vaulks’ dismissal for a rash tackle on George Baldock, the Millers chief believed that the score line only told half the story – with his side acquitting themselves well, for the majority of the derby day clash.
“The sending off has a massive impact on the game,” Warne admitted.
“To go down to 10 men with so long to go was a big blow for us. We wanted to keep it to one-nil for as long as possible and then have a right go in the last 15. We tried to frustrate them and I’m really proud of how we played and how hard the players’ worked.”
The Blades were quick out of the blocks and deservedly went ahead, thanks to O’Connell’s smart finish from Oliver Norwood’s short corner – but Warne, while disappointed with the nature of the home side’s first goal, believed that his side were very much in the contest at the time of Vaulks’ dismissal, in a moment which gave the Blades a firm grip on the game that they never relinquished.
“I knew we would have to ride the storm, at the start, and I know they always like to go wide and we had a sitting midfielder to try and smother that,” Warne revealed.
“Obviously to concede off a set-piece was disappointing. They blocked our man in the box, which they see some weeks’ and some they don’t but it was a good finish.
“However, in some ways, it took the handbrake off the lads and they really got into the game and caused a threat and Tayls (Jon Taylor) caused them all sorts of problems on the right wing and I thought our play deserved a goal.
“Unfortunately, the red card spoiled the game. I thought we were in the ascendancy and looked a threat at that point.
“I think Will gave the ball away. He’s keen to get it back but he’s gone to ground. I thought it was on the side of harsh. I thought it was a strong yellow. I didn’t think it was a red, but I’m biased and I haven’t seen it back. It’s unfortunate for us because Will has been amazing for us.”