Rotherham United boss Paul Warne was left satisfied with his side’s pre-season run out against Mansfield Town which saw the Millers record a 3-0 win in the behind closed doors encounter at the One Call Stadium.
A collector’s item in the form of a sumptuous Joe Mattock free kick set the visitors on their way before a clever Michael Smith backheel and a header from summer signing Mickel Miller ensured a comfortable victory over their League Two counterparts.
The majority of the players who started the game in Nottinghamshire were handed at least 60 minutes’ worth of action, while a raft of second half changes saw the remainder of the squad get time on the pitch.
A trialist goalkeeper was deployed between the sticks for the entirety of the friendly fixture allowing Warne a proper look at his potential new recruit in a match environment.
Speaking in the wake of the game at the One Call Stadium, Warne admitted that there were plenty of positive signs from his team whilst acknowledging that they still have some work to do before they are the finished article.
“We kept a clean sheet, we rode our luck a bit at times but generally for a workout it was good. It gives the lads a bit more confidence,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“Playing pre-season and getting messages across is important. Look, there were loads of parts of the game today from a coach’s point of view that we weren’t happy with, but overall, we won the game and that is what football is all about.
“We obviously filmed the game and we’ll show them back the bits that we didn’t like and also the bits we really did like and hopefully we can increase the learning a bit more.”
Warne’s side, whose performance in the 2019/20 season in the set pieces department was exceptional, were again proving their usefulness in that department with Mattock’s delightful opener coming from a dead ball situation before Miller headed home from a corner.
“We always say to the lads that we want to be the best team on set pieces like we were last year. We want to be the best defence and I want to see us as ‘Special Teams’ on set pieces,” he explained using a reference to the NFL setup.
“It is a good way to win football games.
“Joe Mattock was excellent today on set pieces. I’m pleased for Joe and I thought he looked really good today, he’s an established left back.
“We need people who can be reliable. We had Dan Barlaser last season.”
Speaking of the club’s ambitions for the new season, the Millers boss revealed that he has reiterated his players should strive for excellence ahead of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship kick off and is hoping that in reaching for the stars, they can achieve their goals for the new campaign.
“We’re under no illusions about how difficult it is going to be in the league we’re in but I think we can take it on with a real smile and determination,” Warne added.
“I don’t think you should put ceilings on people’s dreams and I say that to the lads all of the time. I think we should at least look at the top of the league. We want to attack it and we’ll take defeats as all teams do, but it is about how we react to that and how we can be the best version of ourselves.
“Hopefully by the time the season starts the lads are in good fettle, they have a real belief and they start with a smile on their faces.”