Boss Leam Richardson on the ‘culture shift’ required at Rotherham United

​NEW boss Leam Richardson says Rotherham United are in need of a ‘culture shift’ if they are to turn around their ailing fortunes and bounce back from the Championship relegation that is heading their way.

The head coach moved to to AESSEAL New York Stadium in December when the Millers were already in deep trouble and eight points adrift of safety as they sought to build on the previous season's second-tier survival campaign.

Richardson, who won League One promotion with previous club Wigan Athletic, knew what he was letting himself in for in accepting the job a month after the sacking of manager Matt Taylor.

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He has stopped short of publicly criticising the previous regime but has complained about poor fitness levels of players and also underlined the inadequate training facilities at Rotherham's Roundwood base.

Rotherham United head coach Leam Richardson watches the Sheffield Wednesday match. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United head coach Leam Richardson watches the Sheffield Wednesday match. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United head coach Leam Richardson watches the Sheffield Wednesday match. Picture: Jim Brailsford

“Before I came into this situation, the chairman and the director of football painted the picture of exactly what the challenges were, both on and off the pitch,” he said.

“The club, in my opinion, with me having been here a short time, needs a culture shift. A level like this (the Championship) highlights everything.

“To build a culture takes a period of time and to undo a culture takes a minute. It's important we're aware of that and we take the right steps, from the owner all the way down to myself, the players and the fans.”

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Richardson believes he has begun to make a difference despite a run of seven successive defeats stretching the gap between the Millers and the mark required to leave the drop zone to 19 points.

Speaking after Saturday's 1-0 home derby loss to Sheffield Wednesday, he said. “In games, we've improved on many KPIs (key performance indicators). Our possession stats, our final-third entries, our build have all been positive. Our numbers have got higher.

“We'll work hard and try to be the best we can be with what we've got to work with and be competitive in every game. That's the least you can ask.

“You're playing Southampton, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City - against teams like that you've got to make sure you give a really strong account of yourself because the level is too much if you don't.

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“You can either roll over and take whatever comes or you can be competitive and go right to the end.”

The Millers were plagued by injuries when Richardson arrived and the number of absentees has scarcely receded during his spell in charge which has brought 11 defeats, three draws and a solitary victory.

“When you can't pick the same team regularly with a squad that functions in certain ways, it's tough,” he said. “You are fixing and mending.

“I don't hide from it, I live in the truth. Do I think we possibly could and should have won more games? Yeah. Have we? No.

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“My frustration is that since I've been in we've improved in many areas, in my opinion, but we haven't changed the balance.

“We've lost by a goal against Sheffield Wednesday rather than drawing. At Ipswich Town, we played well and lost. It's not a good habit to have.”

Rotherham have spent seven of the last ten years in the Championship but have known troubled periods in the last decade.

They were rescued from almost certain relegation in 2016 when Neil Warnock came in to replace Neil Redfearn who had struggled as Steve Evans' replacement.

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Then the disastrous short reign of Alan Stubbs led to a complete rebuild during Paul Warne's six seasons in charge.

More recently, things were showing signs of unravelling during the later stages of Taylor's 13-month tenure.

“It's about knowing what moment we're in," Richardson said. “This club has been in these types of situations before and always come through them in a positive way.

“We want to come through it in a positive and sustainable way this time.”