'˜No hiding place' - Rotherham boss Paul Warne calls on players to finish strong
The Millers interim chief detected signs of that in the second half of Tuesday night’s 2-0 home reverse to Brighton – and even accounting for the hosts’ dire predicament and the gulf in quality with second-placed Albion, it is something he will not accept.
It resulted in a fifth successive Championship defeat for bottom club Rotherham and their ninth in 10 matches. Relegation is increasingly likely to be confirmed early next month.
In spite of the Millers’ hopeless situation, a dropping of personal standards is something of an anathema to Warne.
The Millers chief, who assembled the players to watch the game together in a ‘debrief’, said: “With 20 minutes to go, a few hid, which is a regrettable thing to say.
“The lads’ lack of confidence – professional sport is as much about psychology as it is physiology – showed. They really dropped as a group with 20 minutes to go, which is sad.
“I have said to them: ‘Every game, whether you win, lose or draw, if you perform to a level, I will always shake your hand, I will always be proud of you.’ But a few of them let themselves down.
“I said a few harsh words. You can’t always suger-coat everything. I have asked them to come back to me. I have told them: ‘My phone’s on, you know where I live. Knock on my door if you want to tell me what you honestly think.’
“I just want 11 lads who want to play. I do not want the season to just fizzle out into lacklustre performances. I do not think the fans or myself deserve that.”
It was also a frustrating night for Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom, whose side succumbed to a second successive away loss as the Reds’ horror run at QPR continued.
Heckingbottom was to left to rue his side’s lack of cutting edge and fluency in possession as Barnsley’s winless streak extended to four matches. He will show no hesitation in freshening up his line-up if things do not change.
Heckingbottom, who said that his decision to substitute Alex Mowatt at half-time was ‘purely tactical’, said: “It was one of those nights where we were a little bit loose in possession and loose with our finishing. The performance should have been better.”