Rotherham United manager Paul Warne insisted his side left everything on the pitch, following a pulsating 3-3 draw with Stoke City at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
After falling behind early on to an unfortunate Angus MacDonald own goal, the Millers rallied and went into half time level, courtesy of a Matt Crooks strike.
Paul Warne’s men were ahead six minutes into the second half, when Michael Smith netted his goal in five league games, but were pegged back when Danny Batth met Nick Powell’s delivery with a firm header.
The home side took the lead again with 67 minutes played, but the Potters found another leveller, with 15 minutes remaining, thanks to Nick Powell.
Despite being pegged back twice by the play-off hopefuls, Warne was pleased with his side’s display.
“In fairness I thought, first half, we were really good,” Warne told www.themillers.co.uk.
“We created good chances and hit the post and went in at half time a little bit disappointed that we hadn’t took the lead. In the second half, we tried to press a bit higher. I think we didn’t press high enough in the first half. Maybe a couple of players showed them too much respect, I don’t know.
“It was a great game for the neutral. Six goals and there could have been a lot more goals. We missed enough chances in the end and we possibly could have won it. I’ve got absolutely no criticism for my players in any way.
“It’s just the fact their subs that they’re bringing on are international players. We couldn’t stop the cross for the third goal, regrettably. But that doesn’t take anything away from our performance. I’m really proud of the group and I’ve just said it to them in there.
“They left everything out on the pitch and I can’t ask anymore. At 1-0 down, Rotherham fans might have taken a point but we could have had all three.
“I thought that, on paper, we have no right to compete, but with the information taken on from our coaches, we leave everything out there and we’re really athletic. I really enjoyed watching their efforts. If we lost the game 4-3 I wouldn’t have been less proud.
“I go on about the game-changers all the time but they’re crucial to your success – the subs you can make. No one was having a bad game. I thought Smudge (Michael Smith) was excellent, I thought Crooksy (Matt Crooks) was excellent.
Wilesy (Ben Wiles) grew into the game and Dan (Barlaser) and Jamie (Lindsay) were consistently great again. Both my wing-backs are showing no end and massive praise to Woody (Richard Wood). He loves it in the middle of the three because he doesn’t’ have to run!”
The clash with Michael O’Neill’s side marked Paul Warne’s 200th as manager of Rotherham United and Warne admitted it was an enjoyable game to bring in that particular landmark.
“Tonight, I really enjoyed it, I know what football management’s like, you’ve got to try and enjoy your life, be in the moment. I did tonight. The only sad thing was that there wasn’t a full house tonight because both teams would have got a standing ovation,” Warne explained.