Matt Taylor on Rotherham United's 'luck' being fully deserved at Stoke City and why Alex Neil was angry

ROTHERHAM UNITED manager Matt Taylor admitted his side's 1-0 victory at Stoke City possessed an element of luck, but insisted it was also deserved.

The Millers registered their first away success of the Taylor era - and maiden triumph on their travels this term and first at this level since March 2021 - courtesy of an early effort from Ollie Rathbone.

The midfielder's sixth-minute effort was the Millers' only shot on target while the Potters managed 29, including 12 on target.Rathbone's strike - his second goal in the Potteries this season after scoring in the EFL Trophy at Port Vale - came with former England defender Phil Jagielka off the field receiving treatment.

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After that, the visitors protected their lead with everything they had. Leading the way, amid some heroic performances, was keeper Viktor Johansson, who Taylor labelled as 'fantastic’ as Rotherham secured their first three points at Stoke since back in April 2005.

Matt Taylor. Picture: PAMatt Taylor. Picture: PA
Matt Taylor. Picture: PA

Taylor, whose side were humbled 3-0 in their first away game under his watch at Blackburn, said: "We probably took advantage of Jagielka being off the field with a head injury.

"Stoke were one short in their defensive unit and we managed to take a short corner and Ollie did the right thing in terms of hitting the target.

"From that point on it was one-way traffic. I would have liked us to control the ball a little bit more than we did but the effort the lads put in, I couldn't fault it.

"They were a lucky three points but deserved ones.

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"Luck played its part, of course it did. Luck is also on top of the foundation this club has already got with the heart and endeavour of that group of players to give everything.

"Our will to win was second to none. We were out on our feet at times and we weren't perfect but the result is what matters."

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Offering his take, Stoke boss Alex Neil admitted: "They are the most painful games.

"I would rather play crap and lose, then at least I know I have stuff to fix and I can be critical and ask questions.

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"But performance-wise it was arguably as good as we have been in a while.

"We didn't mean to miss the chances but that's the nature of football.

"But their goal is so frustrating for me. For Phil Jagielka to come off the pitch having been brave, headed the ball out of his box, cut his head and with blood pouring down his face.

"I don't understand the rule why he has to come off the pitch because we are naturally at a disadvantage.

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"From that perspective that rule is the most outdated, silly rule I have ever seen. If the player was off the pitch because he had done something wrong, fine. But he has done nothing wrong. We shouldn't have been at a disadvantage through no fault of our own."

Rotherham return to action on Saturday afternoon when they play host to Yorkshire rivals Hull City at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.