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READ | Taylor's pre-Blackburn Rovers press highlights

7 October 2022

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Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor sat down with iFollow Millers on Friday morning to preview the weekend's trip to Blackburn Rovers in the Sky Bet Championship.

The new manager has barely had time to let his feet touch the floor at Roundwood in a whirlwind few days following his appointment to the AESSEAL New York Stadium hotseat, which has also included ticking off his first game in charge in midweek against Millwall.

Up for discussion ahead of a trip to the North West - where Taylor hails from - the manager reflected on the point against the Lions, before talking about topics including team news, how he has settled in at the club and the challenge of facing Rovers on Saturday.

You can read the highlights from the interview below or watch the video content in full on iFollow Millers, HERE.


Taylor on Millwall reflections...

"We started the game fantastically well and played on the front foot for the first half an hour.

"Talking to the staff, they feel as if it was the best start to the game we've had physically, perhaps all season, so it might have taken that little bit extra out of them and you could probably sense that because when the game got into the latter stages, we'd ran out of a bit of steam.

"The second half was more about character and resilience, we still had a few moments but probably not enough in relation to where we want it to be on that football pitch.

"We'll certainly take a point in our first outing. Only two shots on our goal, too. One a fantastic save from Viktor and unfortunately the other was a fantastic finish."


Taylor on his first impressions of the players...

"I think you could see everything about that football team that everyone loves on Wednesday night and now it is about ways of trying to find ways of making it sustainable throughout games of football.

"We were really pleased with the first 30 or 40 minutes but afterwards I feel we lost our way a little and made a few uncharacteristic errors within that but that was probably down to the effort they'd put in to start that game."


Taylor on whether Wednesday night acted as an 'audition' for the players...

"Audition is an interesting word because we did not have time to put our stamp on the team for Wednesday night.

"In terms of the players, they are fighting for their shirt right through the season. It stays regardless of who is manager.

"Football always tells you the truth, if you're not playing well enough, you don't stay in the team, so that's the most obvious and easiest side of management because you only want to pick the players who are performing well.

"I was really pleased with their outputs on Wednesday, they've been through a lot, these players.

"People forget how long the manager and his previous staff were here, the week after they deaprted and an interim period and then myself and Wayne coming in at the start of this week.

"Let's not forget what the players have gone through and I was so proud of the way they performed and I'm sure the club and the fans will be too.

"Now we look forward to this weekend."


Taylor on whether he wants the hard-working attitude to remain the foundation of the team...

"It has to, that is one of the reasons I took the job. It is a hardworking and honest team, a team that reflects the values of the town and its supporters, everything that we're known for at Rotherham United Football Club.

"That will remain, we have to get value for our work and that is something that we're talking to the boys about.

"The messaging hasn't been strong as of yet - we haven't had time for that - it's just fine tuning certain details.

"If they are going to give absolutely everything - and I'm sure they will - they have to get full value out of that and then when we do retain possession and get hold of that ball again, we'll have that little bit more in our legs and our brains to make the right decisions and execute them in ways we can hurt the opposition.

"It is a fantastic place to start and as long as we can keep that going which I guarantee we will, then we will have something to work with."


Apologies, this video is unvailable.


Taylor on his reception from the supporters on Wednesday night...

"It was incredible, I couldn't quite soak it in because of everything that had happened in the build up to that game and then the hustle and bustle of it.

"But walking out there, behind the two teams and feeling and hearing the ovation was a proud moment for myself.

"I'm pleased my wife was there and that my six week old lad was there, he didn't know what was going on but I'm sure my wife would have felt a little bit emotional about that.

"It has been a tough week for the family, but to feel that warmth and affection from the fans made us feel really welcome and hopefully that will continue.

"We need to put out a team that reflects the values of the fanbase, they certainly did that on Wednesday night and we'll be looking to do that this weekend.



Taylor on how playing on a Wednesday impacts preparation for the next game...

"The Wednesday night game is a little bit strange in terms of our preparation and structure. It's a shame it came in our first week, even a Tuesday night game would have been a little more easier.

"It sounds strange being only 24 hours apart but the lads who played on Wednesday night just came in to do the pool session.

"They could do very little physically and to be honest they can't do much today either, because we're going to need that energy in their bodies going into this weekend.

"If we need to freshen that up on Saturday we will do. The ones who weren't involved Wednesday night did more of a physical session yesterday.

"We still haven't had too much time to work on the training pitch.

"We're looking to next week, not only because it is a free week's worth of work but also because there is a reserve game on the Tuesday as well where we can get some eyes on the players who haven't featured as much.

"But first things first, we need to focus on this weekend."


Taylor on whether he'll be saving any significant changes until after the World Cup break...

"We'll have a better idea of the squad and what to expect from them when we go into that break.

“We'll have the best part of three weeks to work with the players in an intense environment during that period, whether that be with a trip away, it might be on the training ground here or in the shape of friendly games.

"But whilst that is happening, we've got eight or nine games in a league capacity to learn about each other.

"I said the other night that we've got earn each other's trust first and foremost so that we build that relationship.

"We are looking forward to that break, because they players will need it both physically and mentally but also we'll be able to get some real work on the training pitch."


Taylor on Brooke Norton-Cuffy...

"Brooke is finding his feet at Championship level and I bet he hasn't played three games a week at such an intensity.

"For an 18 year old kid, he's performing fantastically well and we're delighted to have him but we have to mindful to not put these players in a dangerous position as well.

"He cramped up on Wednesday and that is the sign of the effort he put into the game. Obviously, in terms of an explosive and powerful player, once they do cramp up, you can't get the same output from them, so it was right to bring him off at that time.”


Taylor on team news...

"We still have to protect those players, we're still learning about their physical capabilities.

"We'll have to freshen up on Saturday, it is the end of a three game week and there's also been a lot going on in the sense of that week.

"So, I'm sure there will be a few changes as we look to instil some energy onto that pitch, but I'm sure we'll still look the same in terms of everything we spoke about earlier, the hard work, endeavour, speed and intensity in our game."



Taylor on Peter Kioso...

"Providing he gets through the next few sessions, the plan is to give him 45 minutes in the reserve game on Tuesday.

"That will be a big sign and moment to tick off for Peter and the staff. Obviously i came into the situation of Peter's injury but he's someone I've admired in the past.

"So I’ve got a good understanding of his playing history and what he can bring to this team.

"It is important we can get him into the pitch in some capacity and that will give us an idea of what he needs next.

"He might need a little bit of topping up after that and need more minutes but having him available we be big for the squad."


Taylor on Blackburn...


"My dad is a lifelong Blackburn Rovers fan, they were the first team his uncle took him to watch.

"Unfortunately, he is away on holiday because that would have been a great game for him to come and watch.

"It's a great game for our fans, I don't think the travel-time is too long so hopefully they all get here safely.

"It's great to go to a club of that stature, I think they are the only team in the league to have won the Premier League, so that is another marker for the boys.

"That shows the size of some of the clubs in this league and we have to relish it, there will be no pressure on us as the away side but we have to pack a punch."

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