Millers boss Paul Warne was delighted that his side managed to come away from in-form Blackpool with maximum points, despite it being a tough encounter at Bloomfield Road.
The Millers fought bravely in a tightly contested first half, but they were indebted to ‘keeper Dan Iversen for maintaining parity at the interval with a couple of fine saves.
However, Warne’s side took a firm grip on the game when Michael Smith notched his third goal in a week, with a predatory finish before Clark Robertson, who was a late call-up due to an injury to Joe Mattock, gave the visitors’ some much-needed breathing space with a fine volley, near the end.
The goal proved crucial as Blackpool halved the deficit, in the dying minutes, when Armand Gnanduillet slotted home from the spot after Curtis Tilt was felled in the box.
Speaking to the assembled media afterwards, Warne was quick to express his pride that his side responded positively to the Millers’ coaching staff’s half-time call of arms, following a tame first-half display.
“It’s good to win football matches which is great, and we will definitely play better than that. We weren’t at our best but away from home, we are not here to entertain the crowds, we are here to get points and that’s what we did, so I’m really proud of them.” Warne enthused.
“Blackpool were causing us all sorts of problems in the first-half and I openly admit that. I’d have taken nil-nil at half-time because they were the better team.
“At half-time, I asked for more movement up front and try and get behind them, like they were doing to us in pulling our full-backs out of position. I didn’t think we won headers in the first half, neither upfront or defensively.
“If we win the headers and run a bit harder, you give yourself a chance and our second-half performance was a lot better. Overall, we defended really well. (Liam) Feeney caused us all sorts of problems with some decent balls and I think my ‘keeper deserved a clean sheet, so the penalty was a little unfortunate.
“Overall, we will play better but to come away from home and get three points then I’m happy.”
Ahead of the Roses clash, Warne was thrown a curveball prior to kick-off when Joe Mattock pulled a quad muscle, in the warm-up. The Millers boss revealed, afterwards, that he opted to promote Robertson, into the starting line-up, to face his former club and the Scotsman repaid his faith – with a commanding performance at the heart of the Rotherham rearguard, which was capped with the match winning strike.
“Joe came in after the warm-up and the physio said there was a little problem with his quad. I spoke to him and he said he would be all right but I asked him if he could do a full on sprint because in fairness, if he was playing against their best attacking player, then his quad could go. I’m a pretty zero-risk manager when it comes to things like that, as he could be out for six weeks, so I put Robbo in.” Warne added.
“It’s a squad game. Someone came in off the bench, did really well and scored a goal at his old club which is great for Robbo. It’s all about the lads and the culture we are trying to create. They all get on and want to win for each other.”