Paul Warne post-MK Dons...
MILLERS boss Paul Warne admitted that the second-half substitutions of Freddie Ladapo and Kyle Vassell were the key to his side’s second-half comeback victory over Milton Keynes Dons.
The Millers looked set to be staring down the barrel of a rare away defeat at Stadium:MK after first-half strikes from Alex Gilbey and Joe Mason put the hosts in charge following a slow start from Warne’s side in the opening 45 minutes.
However, the South Yorkshiremen were a transformed side after the break and after Dan Barlaser pulled one back, Ladapo, despite missing a second-half penalty, notched a brace to turn the tide of an enthralling encounter in the Millers’ favour.
Speaking to the assembled media afterwards, Warne was quick to hail the character of his side, who put in a Jekyll and Hyde display – but one in which Vassell – with his contribution and Ladapo – with his goals, helped his in-form side notch their fourth successive away league victory, against all the odds.
“Vass and Freddie were a constant thorn when they came on.” Warne said.
“Vass was unbelievable. The lads trust him. He demands a lot from people on the pitch. Everything that was good about us in the second half came through him and he will be really pleased. I’ve been singing his praises for weeks and it was nice to put him on.
“Vass’ delivery was excellent. You have to put the ball in areas to attack and he did that. I’m exhausted but really pleased.”
Following the victory, Warne’s side moved up to fourth in the Sky Bet League One standings but despite the Millers faithful making the long trek up the M1 in jubilant mood, Warne admitted that his side were far from their best, in the opening period.
“We started the game really poor, which was frustrating. I did not recognise my players in the first 20 minutes. We showed them a little bit too much respect. They are really good footballers.” Warne added.
“The second half performance was more like us. If we lose football games, I can accept it if we play the way we like to play but the first half was not like us. We made changes and the subs came on and had a real positive effect.
“Our second half performance was excellent. We did say to the lads to move the ball out wide quickly and switch play to get crosses in and we did not do that in the first-half.
“We took the shackles off at half-time and we were causing problems. It was a much better performance from us in the second-half.
“I’d like to thank the fans, who stuck with us massively. If you were a Rotherham fan, you’d have loved it. The fans were unbelievable in the second-half and it really does help the lads.”