ROTHERHAM UNITED manager Steve Evans admits that clinching Championship safety eased the considerable pain of the Millers’ punitive three-point deduction last month.
The Scot neglected toasting the Millers’ celebrations with champagne, instead savouring the moment after the 2-1 victory over Reading without the need for alcohol.
He said: “After Reading, the chairman was very surprised that I didn’t go for a glass of wine, I went straight home.
“When I drove out of the ground there were still supporters walking out of the car park, it was just to go home and think ‘phew’. Because the pressure was intense and it was even more intense because of the points.
“I could never put into words how hurt I was with that because I knew how hard it made our task, but the one thing you learn when you work for Tony Stewart and Rotherham United, you pull the rope in the same direction or you go.
“We know what it takes for this club to be successful, we live in a hotbed of football under the umbrellas of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United and for us to come above those umbrellas and see the sunshine we have to over perform on the pitch.”
Evans insists that no-one could begrudge the Millers staying up, with his side having proved their credentials throughout the 2014-15 campaign when they gave most sides a real run for their money.
He added: “There weren’t many games where we got a doing over – probably Wolves at home, and we won it!
“Reading away was the worst we played all season in the Championship. There was Watford away because of circumstances - Arni’s (Kari Arnason) slipped and Adam (Collin) helps them get two. Wolves away could have finished 6-6 but we lost 5-0. It was the strangest game in the world.
“I was having a glass of wine with Kenny Jackett afterwards and his first words were ‘that could have been 6-6’ as he walked through the door. ‘It wasn’t, Kenny,’ I replied. ‘It was 5-0 to you.’.
“The defending that day from us was horrific and our attacking play wasn’t very good because we missed a succession of good chances.
“Going towards the end of the season - and Norwich said it, Alex Neil said it to me privately before and after the game - Norwich were fighting for automatic promotion and the one fixture they didn’t want was Rotherham away.
“That was the same with Reading’s Stevie Clarke. He said they came out of Wembley and couldn’t motivate the players for a home game with Birmingham where the ground was half-empty, then they played Brentford, which was a bit of a local derby, and the last game they wanted following that was going up to Rotherham on a Tuesday night.
“And how well did we play against Reading when we beat them 2-1? The fact that they beat Derby 3-0 away in their next game shows how well we played.”