Rotherham United boss Leam Richardson stands up for players' attitude after Sheffield Wednesday loss

BOSS Leam Richardson refused to question the desire of his Rotherham United squad after they fell to defeat in their derby-day showdown with Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon.

The bottom-placed Millers were well beaten at a sold-out AESSEAL New York Stadium and could have lost by more than a 1-0 margin as the Owls, also in the drop zone, dominated most of the clash.

However, Richardson denied that the visitors wanted the South Yorkshire bragging rights more than his men did.

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“Whatever we lack in certain areas, it’s not a will to win,” the head coach 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

After seven consecutive losses, Rotherham are 19 points off the safety mark with 11 matches left and are virtually certain to drop back into League One.

The derby represented a last chance to give the club's followers something to cheer, but a tap-in after the break from Ike Ugbo, who converted Dominic Iorfa's low cross, gave Wednesday a third straight victory and left Richardson sharing home supporters' pain.

“It was frustrating and I am gutted for the fans really,” he said. “In a derby you want to get a positive result for them.

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“The second half was evenly balanced, but the goal is horrendous from our point of view.

“Games are taking the same pattern at the minute where we are competitive to a level but then we are looking for that bit of quality and momentum to go our way. Our levels seem to drop after 60-70 minutes.”

The injury-hit Millers were weakened by more absentees as skipper Sean Morrison was ruled out by a calf issue and Ollie Rathbone failed to complete concussion protocols in time to play.

“We are very ‘fix and mend’ at the minute with players playing out of position,” Richardson said. “We are limited in a lot of areas and we had only six outfield players on the bench.

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The Owls remain in 23rd spot but are in the thick of the survival mix. They controlled the first half and could have been leading by 3-0 at the break.

Danny Rohl, the boss who has led their recent revival, said: “It was a big win. I am very proud of my team at the moment. It is outstanding what they are doing.

“Everybody knows Rotherham are always difficult with the second balls and set-plays.

“At half-time I said it was great what we were doing but that we had to score with the next chance.

“It was a big impact from our subs. A draw was not enough. I had to change the shape and we scored immediately. Then it was about bringing the game home. The mentality we have – everybody is hungry.”