Rotherham United manager Paul Warne conceded that his side’s first half display was not up to the standards they set in the second period, as they slipped to defeat against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Goals from Freddie Ladapo and Michael Smith were not enough for the Millers take something back with them to South Yorkshire, as strikes from Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair and a spot-kick from Lyndon Dykes gave the home side a commanding lead at the break.
Ladapo’s goal six minutes from the end set up a grandstand finish as Paul Warne’s side pushed for an equalising goal, but their valiant rally was ultimately in vain.
“In my opinion it was two different performances, the first half was completely different to the second half,” Warne explained.
“I thought in the first half we showed QPR too much respect, which is disappointing because we played an attacking side.
“QPR have got some amazing players and their attacking play is excellent, but we kept dropping into the box rather than engaging high up the pitch and that caused us all sorts of problems. We conceded the penalty right on half time which was a sucker punch, but at the same time 3-1 did not flatter them.
“In the second half we looked a lot more athletic. Wilesy (Ben Wiles), Jamie Lindsay and Crooksy (Matt Crooks), had a big impact on the game and we just looked more lively really. We were putting decent crosses in, Freddie had a big chance with 20 minutes to go and we had a stonewall penalty waved away, which is hugely frustrating.
“The second half performance was different to the first in many ways. We have to coach the negatives, but we need to take the positives as well from a very mixed evening. Overall, I’m hugely disappointed, I came here to try and win the game, I don’t come to try and sit in. We were fairly open and unfortunately tonight our more attacking players didn’t give us as much as theirs did in the opening period.”
Michael Smith returned to the starting line-up and was a standout performer in the opening period for the visitors, getting himself on the scoresheet and causing problems for the home defence and Warne admits he was left delighted with the striker’s display.
“I’m buzzing with Smudge (Michael Smith), I think he was our standout player by a country mile, he led the line really well, he worked hard and he caused them problems.
“Every time a cross came in, I fancied him to get on the end of It and he got himself a deserved goal. His performance was one of the highlights of the first half for me for sure.”