Matt Taylor on how Rotherham United built on Southampton performance with 2-0 win they can only take more belief from
The Millers came from behind to claim a draw in the second half at Southampton in their final match before the Championship went on hold. They were frustrated when the South Yorkshire weather denied them the chance to build on it against Ipswich Town but claimed an excellent 2-0 win over Coventry City when they did finally get back into action.
Again, it was a game they got stronger in as it went on, Lee Peltier's header from a second-half corner inspiring a 20-minute spell of attacking football up there with anything they have produced this season. And Ollie Rathbone's stoppage-time volley banked a win which does not move them out of the Championship relegation zone but takes them to Hillsborough on Sunday in great heart.
Even a fire alarm shortly after the match finished could not dampen Rotherham’s spirits.
"We were okay in the first half without the end and the extra bit of quality in the opposition half," said Taylor. "I was pleased with where the team were on the pitch, the instructions were pretty clear, it was just to improve the end output and we certainly did that in the second half and we created more chances than we ever had in 15 minutes of football but we were against a very good team who always can create as well.
"Whether it was by luck, desire or defensive skill at moments, I thought we deserved the 2-0."
It was important the side did build on the positives of their point on the south coast, and it was the mentality of his players that most seemed to delight their manager.
"We showed the spirit in that second half at Southampton," reflected Taylor. "I thought that gave the connection of the team a bit extra and we tried to take that into tonight.
"You need something to believe in, whether it was the level scoreline at half-time or that first goal, just building blocks for where the players' mentality is and I thought they grew and grew in that second half.
"They put their bodies on the line and the subs made us stronger.
"That's two good returns in terms of points. The fragility of the group will still be there because if the run we've had and the amount of injuries but if they ever need any more belief on the back of one-and-a-half performances they can just watch those games back and understand that even if we fail, we fail in a certain manner.
"We've got more and more out of the group as the game went on and we've got the points return to back it up."
Taylor's mood was the polar opposite of Mark Robins' but Coventry City's manager was typically gracious in reflecting on how his old team beat his current one.
"I honestly can't remember being as disappointed for a long time," he said. "I don't think we've done enough anyway.
"We were in control of the first half but we needed another 10 per cent.
"Having said that, we created some good opportunities and the keeper (Viktor Johansson) made a couple of good saves from them but that's what happens in Championship football – unless you can muster more energy and more intent to make it happen... the opposite happened.
"It made them interested because they weren't interested in the game.
"Having said that, we created enough to win the game but when you concede from a corner (for Peltier's opener), you've got to take responsibility for that.
"I think we got what we deserved in the end. We've lost because we've not made the most of our opportunties, we've given them hope and they've taken their chances."