ROTHERHAM United caretaker manager Paul Warne believes Thursday’s night’s 2-1 defeat against relegation rivals Burton Albion was a game of missed opportunities.
Warne was taking charge of his sixth match since the shock resignation of Kenny Jackett and was looking to make it three home wins on the bounce after victories over QPR and Wigan on Boxing Day.
But the Millers failed to capitalise on their early dominance and shipped two first half goals – through former Miller Chris O’Grady and Jackson Irvine – in a shaky five minute spell.
Tom Adeyemi pulled one back for the home side on the stroke of half time but the Millers failed to break down a resolute Burton defence in the second period, meaning they now sit 10 points adrift of Championship safety heading into the New Year.
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WARNE TAKES A SEAT AGAINST BURTON
But Warne thinks that his side deserved something from the game, particularly after their first half superiority.
He said: “I thought we played really well, first half we were the better team and Joe Newell got through a few times and I thought we looked dangerous in our play.
“I might be being a bit harsh but I thought they (Burton) set up to get a draw and not lose. They slowed the game down a lot and I was trying to get the lads to move the ball quicker.
“Everything was a bit slow and laborious, I could feel a drop in energy after about 20 minutes, but up to then we were good.”
O’Grady pounced on a goalkeeping error from Lewis Price to tap in Burton’s first before Irvine powerfully headed in John Brayford’s pin-point cross five minutes later.
Warne was unhappy with the manner of the goals conceded but admitted his players could have done more in the second period to earn an equaliser after Tom Adeyemi halved the deficit on half time.
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He said: “They got their goal which was hugely disappointing from our view, they got the second straight away and that was a knife to the heart.
“It is easy to be critical of a mistake but their second goal was a great ball in and a great header, but should we have stopped the cross? Maybe, but you can’t stop everything, that’s lunacy.
“I’m disappointed in the fact that after that goal you could see in the lads’ body language they were heart broken, I’ve played in those matches where you’re doing well and you concede and you think ‘that’s not fair’, sometimes you just don’t get what you deserve.
“2-0 was a bit harsh but 2-1 was a bit of a Brucey bonus, not that we deserved that goal back at that time because we weren’t playing great but we deserved the goal for our play in the first half.
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“In the second half, in fairness to Burton, they were holding on to a lead and they just sat back.
“As good as my players are and how great they are as blokes – I love the team, they’re a great set of lads – but have we got the cutting class to really pull a team apart when they’ve got two banks of four? That is a difficult ask for our lads.
“Did we create enough chances to get anything out of the game in the second half? Possibly not.”