Rotherham United manager Paul Warne couldn’t fault the efforts of his side, as they were edged out by Barnsley in the South Yorkshire derby at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
With a number of confirmed positive Covid-19 cases in the camp earlier in the week, Paul Warne was tasked with readying his side for a tough test against Valérien Ismaël’s in-form side.
With just two days training under their belt, and a number of the members of the squad still feeling the effects of the festive lay-off, the Millers turned in a wholehearted performances against their South Yorkshire neighbours and were unfortunate to find themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline.
“There’s no way I’m going to knock them, I’ve just said to them in the dressing room that I can’t knock their efforts, I thought they put in an unbelievable effort. We had players on the pitch that hadn’t even trained a day and the majority of them only trained twice in 11 days,” Warne told www.themillers.co.uk.
“I knew we were going to be rusty and we weren’t going to be as sharp as the lads had liked. We started well and Walton pulled off a great save from Vass (Kyle Vassell) and then in fairness Woodrow comes in off Icky (Michael Ihiekwe) and takes his goal very well.
“They scored on the counter, which is one of their strengths and it was a good second goal. I had a concern it could rock the lads a little bit, but they hung in there and made it to half time. I put Smudge (Michael Smith) on for a bit of physicality and I thought we started the second half really well.
“I thought we’d possibly done enough to get a point. They’ve won four of their last five and run over all the teams they’ve played in the final 20 minutes, but I don’t feel like they did that against us and we finished well.
“I can’t praise the lads enough for their efforts, we’ll pick them up again on Thursday and look forward to Cardiff on Saturday.”
Despite the defeat, the gaffer feels his side can take positives going into Saturday’s home fixture with Cardiff City and is also optimistic of some positive news on the injury-front.
“There’s been some good performances tonight in the circumstances,” Warne added.
“We won’t have that – not excuse – reason on Saturday. We’ll have the training days and we should be a little bit sharper, a little bit better and maybe have some more players back.
“We have to go into that full of optimism.
“Hopefully all of my issues should be resolved. Unless we pick something up between now and then, we should have as good a fully fit squad as we can.
“Next week Shauny Mac is back training with the squad and then we’re really hopeful that Robbo should be joining back in. Maybe another week after that we should have Chieo back. Then all of a sudden, we look a healthier, fitter team which is good.
“Even a couple of our starting XI tonight haven’t even trained. I can’t knock how they’ve performed tonight. Barnsley have won five out of six and are looking really good and I’ve told our team there is no reason they can’t do the same.”