DANNY WARD says that Rotherham United must deliver a response at Middlesbrough tonight - after an unacceptable performance at Derby County at the weekend.
The Millers were second best in a 3-0 loss at the iPro Stadium and the fixture list has afforded them no let-up with a trip to another promotion favourite in Middlesbrough, with the visitors having not won on Teesside since March 1965.
Saturday’s result saw Rotherham drop to the foot of the Championship, leaving Neil Redfearn with just one point to show from his four games in charge thus far.
Ward admits it is a non-negotiable that the Millers up their performance levels significantly tonight, with Redfearn having dissected Saturday’s display and underlined to the players that they simply must do better.
He said: “It’s a massive game for us. We have got to turn it around and make sure we come away with some points.
“To come away with the performance we did on Saturday wasn’t good enough and we have to learn from the mistakes and put them right.
“The gaffer tried to bring out the constructive side, which is probably a better instead of going absolutely mental, in the last couple of games. It is better to look at what we did wrong and correct it, which is probably more beneficial for the lads.
Ward, pinpointed as a key player for the Millers by Redfearn when he was handed the reins, believes that the club’s switch of emphasis to a possession-based passing game under their new manager is the right way to go about things - even if the tangible rewards by way of points have not arrived yet.
But the forward says that the Millers must cut out the mistakes at the back and sharpen up in the final third to give themselves a chance to yield dividends.
He added: “We are trying to play in a completely different way and get it down and pass it a lot more and it’s a change in our style of play. The way we are starting to play is the way we should play. But we will improve and get there and it’s still early days.”
Admitting it is imperative that the Millers can some points return in the two games ahead of the international break - with Ipswich due in at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday - he added: “It’s massive. If we don’t have any points going into the international break, it’s not good for us in terms of stewing on it.
“If we go into the international break with confidence by getting three points, it would be massive.
“But we must learn from mistakes and play with confidence.
“We definitely need to start scoring some goals because we are creating chances. We are just not putting them away.
“If we go there with the tempo high and playing with confidence and getting in their faces, we will give them (Boro) a good run.”