Leam Richardson's reaction as he gets his first win as Rotherham United head coach

NEW boss Leam Richardson handed all the praise to his squad as Rotherham United ended their 11-match winless streak this afternoon.

The injury-hit Millers survived heavy pressure from visitors Middlesbrough to edge home 1-0 in the Boxing Day Championship clash at AESSEAL New York Stadium through Cohen Bramall's 72nd-minute fluke strike.

Richardson was taking charge for only the fourth game and picked up his first points after a fortnight at the helm of the division's bottom-placed club.

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“The credit for the victory needs to go to the players,” he said.

Rotherham United head coach Leam Richardson. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United head coach Leam Richardson. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United head coach Leam Richardson. Picture: Jim Brailsford

Bramall's goal came from a mishit cross and the head coach added: “With the work ethic and the level of performance the lads have shown since I've been here, they have deserved that little bit of luck.

“We are low on bodies and we have players playing out of position. Some are having to do things that are quite foreign to them.

“But it’s a choice to tackle, head and run back and stay connected to your teammates with recovery runs. We have that spirit in abundance.”

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Middlesbrough dominated the opening period but Richardson's half-time team talk wrought an improvement in his side who carried much more of an attacking threat following the interval.

“I thought we were a little bit passive, first half," he said. "We don’t want to be like that. We have front-footed players. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Play-off-chasing Middlesbrough missed a host of chances throughout the game and twice hit the work, first through Sam Greenwood and then, late on, through Riley McGree.

Rotherham also had Hakeem Odoffin and Seb Revan to thank for blocking goalbound efforts as Boro cranked up the pressure towards the end.

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The visitors felt they should have been awarded a second-half penalty when Alex Bangura tumbled under a challenge from Odoffin.

Their head coach, Michael Carrick, said: “I am baffled, to be honest. I know referees have a tough job, but it’s not a tussle or a little trip ... he just takes him out.

“For the life of me I don’t understand how he can’t give the decision there. It’s a massive moment and, probably, the less I say about it the better.

“Whatever the referee says about it, we are not going to agree. It was so obvious. It’s crazy.

“We created enough to score one or two goals at least. We have got goals in the team and we are playing largely good football. They (Rotherham) are always in the game until you kill them off.”