Matt Taylor says Rotherham United players guilty of 'flat' performance in defeat to Preston North End

Matt Taylor admitted some of his players produced ‘flat’ performances as Rotherham United missed the chance to put further distance between themselves and the Championship’s bottom three by suffering defeat to Preston North End on Tuesday night.
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Even accounting for Preston’s excellent away form (eight wins in 17 games) and Rotherham’s desperation to avoid a fourth relegation from the second tier in seven years, Taylor appeared surprised at the lack of urgency from some of his players.

They fell behind to Tom Cannon’s close-range strike before responding with a header from Hakeem Odoffin, only for Ched Evans to spin and send a volley from the edge of the area past Viktor Johansson to seal victory for Preston in first-half stoppage time.

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Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor (Picture:: Nigel French/PA Wire)Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor (Picture:: Nigel French/PA Wire)
Rotherham United manager Matt Taylor (Picture:: Nigel French/PA Wire)

Coming on the back of a 2-0 defeat at Birmingham on Saturday, Taylor admitted he expected more in front of the Millers faithful.

“I thought a few were a bit flat tonight, instead of being scolded by Saturday,” said Taylor.

“We just weren’t quite there with our intent. The goals we conceded showed a bit of weakness through the spine of the team, which we can’t do much about with injuries.

“We got back into the game with a ball where we actually needed to put it.

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“But then to allow a striker of Ched’s ability time to turn and make that finish – that was the difference tonight.

“In terms of what I wanted the outcome to be that’s certainly not what I wanted.

“Maybe I should have sensed a bit of flatness in certain personnel, but that’s the players we’ve got to play."

Taylor changed the system from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 just before the hour with Preston threatening to run away with proceedings.

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“We had to ride our luck in the first 15 minutes of the second half, we had to change the formation, but we didn’t have a handle on the way they were playing,” he said.

“It comes down to execution, something we’re missing at the minute.”

News of a 6-1 win for Blackpool that cut the cushion over the bottom three to five points compounded a disappointing night for the Millers.

“We know it will go down to the wire, we expect that, I cannot control what happens elsewhere,” said Taylor, whose side now face a huge game against Cardiff City – the only team between them and the bottom three – on Saturday.

"I’ve got to try and get some happiness and positivity into them before Saturday.”