FUMING Rotherham United manager Paul Warne has hit back at criticism of his team's style of play, claiming: "It does my nut in."
Reading boss Jose Gomes complained about the Millers' "direct" approach after the two sides had fought out a 1-1 draw in their Championship survival clash at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Warne labelled the comments of his Royals counterpart and others who question's Rotherham tactics as "offensive" and lacking in respect.
"I don’t get it," said the Millers boss who saw an 80th-minute Semi Ajayi goal seal a second-half fightback in Berkshire. "That’s a bit harsh. It does my nut in.
"I’m getting tired reading about ‘long ball’ and all that.
"If we get a chance to throw the ball into the box, we’ll do it. I don’t see what is wrong with that.
"I think it's a bit offensive to keep saying we're all long ball. If you watch us play week to week, I think that you’d give us more respect than that."
With 12 matches of the season remaining, Rotherham are third from bottom of the table, behind Reading only on goal difference.
The Millers have several 6ft-plus players in their line-up and are a big threat at set-pieces. They move the ball forward quickly and also utilise midfelder Will Vaulks' long throw.
Gomes said: "It was a tough and difficult game against opponents who play direct football. Even when they had fouls in their half, the 'keeper came out to kick it.
"A lot of time the ball was in the air and that made it difficult to put the ball on the ground and play."
Warne had been in his usual good spirits in his first round of after-match media interviews at the Madejski but delivered a strong response when he was later informed of Gomes' gripe.
"We don’t play out from the back - we take a goal-kick the old-fashioned way, kicking it to the centre-forward," he said.
"There's nothing wrong with doing that. If we have a chance to throw it into the box, I don't see what's wrong with that either. I don't think every other team has someone who can take a long throw.
Scorer Semi Ajayi
"I am a bit offended on behalf of the lads. If that’s what people want to think of us, there’s nothing I can do.
"Our dream scenario is to get the ball wide and get crosses into the box. That's how we play.
"How we choose to get there is our choice. If we get into their box with four passes or 24 passes, what’s the difference? We all want the same outcome.
"Everybody wrote the lads off at the start of the season and every bookmaker had us finishing bottom. I'm not saying that won't happen but I like to think we deserve a bit more credit this season than what we possibly get.
"Maybe I'm being a bit sensitive, I don't know."
Reading midfielder John Swift, who once had a spell on loan at Rotherham, had said in the matchday programme that the Royals needed to get the ball down and tire out the Millers.
"That’s insulting," Warne said. "I said to the lads before the game: 'They won’t tire you out because Reading are not as fit as you.'"
Gomes added: “We should have scored that second goal but Rotherham came back to get the draw.
"After going 1-0 up, we gave Rotherham too much time on the ball. When they had the ball, they put in in the box directly. So they had a lot of corners and (long) throw-ins."
Paul Davis's match feature