The match, manager Matt Taylor's reaction and the player ratings ... the Carabao Cup story of Stoke City 6 Rotherham United 1

The boss was scathing about the display.
A sole highlight as Sean Morrison scores his first goal for the Millers. Picture: Jim BrailsfordA sole highlight as Sean Morrison scores his first goal for the Millers. Picture: Jim Brailsford
A sole highlight as Sean Morrison scores his first goal for the Millers. Picture: Jim Brailsford

ONE, two, three, four, five, six changes. Count them.  

Events in the second round of the Carabao Cup proved what had already been apparent: Rotherham haven't had the strength in depth they require in the early stages of the season.

Manager Matt Taylor shook up his squad at Stoke City as much as he could to protect key men for more important league battles ahead. Against a fellow Championship side, a quality Championship side, he was well aware that that could spell trouble.

“Going into the game, I knew the team was a weaker one than we wanted to put out,” he said. “I still expected more from individual performances and the collective performance.

“We were nowhere near in terms of some of the personnel on the pitch. It was a painful watch for everyone involved with the club.”

Rotherham were behind after 71 seconds, forced their way back into the contest briefly 20 minutes later and then were never in it again.

It was a long, cold night in Staffordshire.

Goalkeeper Dillon Phillips never made a save and picked the ball out of his net half a dozen times. Amazingly, the stats showed the Millers had more attempts on goal than the home side. It never felt that way.

On a night of woeful defending, Phillips might have done better with the opener from Wouter Burger and Josh Laurent's first strike. He was blameless as Ryan Mmaee, Laurent again, Tyrese Campbell and Mehdi Leris produced quality finishes.

All Rotherham had to show for their efforts was a header from Sean Morrison from a Cafu corner that made the scoreline 2-1 for a short time.

Only 24 days had passed since the clubs had faced each other in second-tier combat at the bet365 Stadium and there was no appetite for this tie. Just 189 hardy souls were in the away corner of a two-thirds empty ground.

“You can't defend like we did tonight,” Taylor said. “We knew what was coming because we'd been here on the first day of the season.

“We struggled to control the space around the ball and the space away from the ball. Stoke are better than us in certain areas. They out-hustled us too often.

“I'll address certain aspects of personnel in the squad. They have to understand they have to be a lot better than that. There were players on that pitch who probably won't feature in the league campaign. Too many players were off it.”

Two trips to Stoke in the same month have brought an aggregate score of 10-2.

That gaggle of downcast Millers supporters were glad to get off home. Going out of this competition didn't hurt. But the manner of the exit did.

One, two, three, four, five, six goals. Count them.

Stoke (4-3-3): Jack Bonham 6: Ki-Jana Hoever 8, Michael Rose 7, Ben Wilmot 7 (Luke McNally 58, 6), Josh Tymon 8; Ben Pearson 7 (Jordan Thompson 58, 6), Wouter Burger 8 (Nikola Jojic 73), Josh Laurent 8; Mehdi Leris 7, Ryan Mmaee 7 (Dwight Gayle H-T), Tyrese Campbell 7 (Sol Sidibe 64, 6). Subs not used: Frank Fielding, Enda Stevens, Daniel Johnson, Wesley.

Rotherham (4-3-3): Dillon Phillips 4; Tolaji Bola 4, Sean Morrison 5, Jamie McCart 6, Cohen Bramall 5; Cameron Humphreys 5 (Christ Tiehi H-T, 6), Cafu 7 (Ollie Rathbone H-T, 6), Andre Green 5 (Tyler Blackett 68, 6); Arvin Appiah 4 (Tom Eaves 58, 5), Jordan Hugill 5 (Fred Onyedinma 49, 5), Ciaran McGuckin 5. Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Dexter Lembikisa, Hamish Douglas, Josh Kayode.

Goals: Burger 2, Mmaee 18, Laurent 29, 55, Campbell 43, Leris 72 (Stoke); Morrison 22 (Rotherham).

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire).

Attendance: 9,410 (189).