Why manager Matt Taylor avoided the sledgehammer after Rotherham United's "embarrassing and humiliating" derby loss

Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor at Hillsborough during the Sheffield Wednesday derby. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United manager Matt Taylor at Hillsborough during the Sheffield Wednesday derby. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor at Hillsborough during the Sheffield Wednesday derby. Picture: Jim Brailsford
MATT Taylor resisted the temptation to tear into his Rotherham United players in the aftermath of the Sheffield Wednesday derby defeat, believing it could do more harm than good.

The boss was fuming with the Millers' lack of fight in last weekend's 2-0 loss at Hillsborough but knew he risked damaging his squad even further if he went too much on the attack.

“We have to learn from it,” the manager said. “We have to try to understand it. We have to realise if you don’t do the basics you’re going to find yourself on the end of a really difficult game.

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“We had to show the players without embarrassing or humiliating them any more, because that happened on Sunday in front of our biggest away following of the season.

“We had those feelings post-game. It’s important then that I don’t hit them over the head with another sledgehammer. But they have to understand certain things we value and certain things they need to do better.”

Taylor, who accepts his job is under threat as his side sit in 22nd spot in the Championship because of their woeful away record, didn't try to deflect any of the blame from himself.

Responding to a question at a press conference this afternoon about supporters' anger at the display, he said: "I deserve all the criticism I get on the back of Sunday."

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It was the first taste of an Owls derby for most of his team but he insisted that the players had grasped the importance of the clash to the club's followers.

“Yes, they did, which is why we feel the way we do post-game,” he said. “People can say after the game it didn’t mean enough, I know it looked like that at times.

But the players certainly understood it and that probably played a part in how some of them wilted and folded under that pressure of expectation.

“It’s up to me to take that off them. I probably learned a bit more about my group in the hardest possible way. I’ve learned a little more about who I can trust in those difficult moments.

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“There’s a case for me and the players to earn the fans trust a little bit more. We cannot hide away from what that defeat felt like and the reaction.

“We have to accept the challenge of producing better performances and more performances that show what we stand for. That didn’t happen on Sunday. We didn’t perform to the best of our ability in the biggest game of the season and that hurts a lot.”

The display was even more inexplicable as it came just days after a superb 2-0 midweek victory over Coventry City.

Against the Owls, the Millers fell behind in the tenth minute after they'd given away the ball while attacking and the manager pinpointed the opening goal as the catalyst for what happened for the rest of the contest in S6.

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“A lot of the players ‘went’ on the moment of that first goal, it hit a lot of them hard," he said. “A lot of them froze on the big occasion and a lot of them stopped valuing what we value most at a club like Rotherham.

“We basically derailed ourselves. The opposition played a big part in that, of course they did; we have to acknowledge that.

“We lost our way and suddenly I’m watching a team that’s unrecognisable from five days previously."