Rotherham United manager Paul Warne spoke to iFollow Millers via Zoom yesterday as his side continue their preparations ahead of next Saturday’s game with Norwich City at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
With international fixtures taking precedence over the next few days, there are no games scheduled for this weekend in England’s top two tiers, with the coaching staff and players looking to use the extra time on the training pitch to their advantage.
On the agenda for the manager were topics including Chiedozie Ogbene’s injury, what he is looking to get out of the international break and his assessment of his side’s start to the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Warne on Chieo's injury...
“He won’t return for us for a minimum of four months and that is without any problems. We won’t be seeing him this side of the New Year that is for sure.
“They’ve managed to repair his cartilage which is good news for Chieo in the long-term, however it means that he is out longer now.
“We all sent him a video message before his operation on Monday, wishing him the best of luck. He sent me a text yesterday thanking everyone for their support.
“It’s really sad and I know its next man up but he is one of our most influential players. He gets us up the pitch and creates mayhem.
“It’s disappointing for him, but we’re all here for him to help him through it. The physios and fitness coaches are brilliant here so he’ll come back. Mental attitude is essential in life and he’s definitely got a really positive one.”
Warne on squad news…
"There are no other injury concerns that I know of, I have 21 outfield players training today. At the moment, we have a fit group, Trev (Trevor Clarke) was in yesterday, as was Robbo (Clark Robertson). We basically have a full echelon of players now which is a real positive."
Warne on training during the international break…
"I always do a reward system with them, so I let the lads have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. You need physical rest and time away, so during an international break I always give them that time off.
"We’ve trained them really hard this week, prior to giving them some time off, hopefully after the weekend they will come in fresh for Monday ahead of the Norwich game.
"We’ve been looking at loads of different things this week as a coaching staff. We’ve been trying to adjust our training a little bit.
"It’s lovely to train the lads when you don’t have a game, so you can focus just on what we need to get better at rather than having to also focus on things to work on prior to a match.
"We have looked at loads of things like that, as well as having individual meetings with each player on what they can improve on and what they need to improve on. It has been a bit of an educational week, which is always good."
Warne on his side’s start to the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship campaign…
"So far I’ve been really pleased with how we’ve played. Ironically, our best performance of the season for me has been against Millwall which we lost. Sometimes football isn’t fair, but at the weekend against Huddersfield I think the result was right.
"I don’t think we played as well as we could have on Saturday. On the ball we had opportunities to break but couldn’t make the final pass, I was disappointed with that and the fact we lost points in the final moments.
"When you look at the table, there are only a handful of teams who have won three games, we could have been one of them and we always aspire to be great. On the whole though, I’m really pleased, but we do realise the need to get better. You speak to any manager or coaching staff across the country and they will all say that, it’s our job to try and get it."
Warne on Jerome Greaves…
"When we’ve seen him play for the reserves or in training we’ve been really impressed with him. He came in pre-season and played a few games in which he did really well. It was an easy decision to give him a deal, we like to try and reward success.
He’s not dissimilar to Smudge (Michael Smith), he’s left-footed, he’s mobile and can hold the ball up really well. He uses the ball really well and he’s a goal threat. He gets plaudits wherever he plays, he’s got his head screwed on right and he’s a great kid who wants to improve. Those are the players we want to try and develop."