Paul Warne savoured Rotherham United's play-off qualification '“ but only for three hours

SATURDAY evening was a good one for Paul Warne.

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Rotherham United had just clinched a place in the League One play-offs and the 44-year-old, attending the club’s Player of the Year dinner, was able to savour the moment.

Come the next morning, however, and his mind was already turning to the Millers’ next assignment at Plymouth Argyle. Sunday was spent watching a rerun of the previous afternoon’s victory over Bristol Rovers, and last night Warne was scouting the Pilgrims at Rochdale.

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Such a relentless schedule can come at a cost, as the Rotherham chief is the first to admit.

“Enjoying it?” said Warne when asked about a job he initially did on a temporary basis last season. “That is a hard one. It is just life-absorbing.

“I don’t think anyone, unless you have done it, can appreciate it. I have just seen that Arsene Wenger has done 22 years and I think, ‘Oh my’.

“Now all the people who supposedly didn’t like him or didn’t get on with him – (Jose) Mourinho, (Sir Alex) Ferguson and all that malarkey – it is all just like fluff, isn’t it?

“Deep down, and they have all come out and said it (since Wenger revealed he would leave the Gunners at the end of the season), they have huge respect for him because they know what he has to go through.

“I want to enjoy it (the job). I could enjoy the moment of (clinching a play-off place on Saturday) for three hours, when I was higher than I ever was as a player without a shadow of doubt.

“But then the following morning I was watching back (the Bristol Rovers) game.”

Warne may find management an absorbing task, but he has taken to it like the proverbial duck to water.

Having been handed the reins in unfortunate circumstances as Rotherham slid out of the second tier in ignominious fashion, the club’s one-time fitness coach has inspired a remarkable turnaround at the New York Stadium.

Where last term was a sorry affair this time around there has been a vibrancy to the club that may yet bring an instant return to the Championship.

“You can’t turn anything around overnight,” said Warne when asked about two hugely contrasting seasons for the Millers.

“Even Pep Guardiola in his first year, the (Manchester) City fans didn’t want him.

“I am not saying I am Pep Guardiola.

“But I am just saying it does take time for your changes to come to fruition and at the moment, fortunately for us, we are winning games so it all looks rosy.”

Rotherham have two games of the regular season to negotiate before the play-offs get under way. Warne knows the stakes being raised will bring its own pressure.

“I was looking at my heart rate when I worked out what I was going to say to the team (last Saturday),” he said. “My resting heart rate is about 46 beats, but when I was working out what I was going to say I was looking at my watch and it was 102.

“I was thinking, ‘102 just from the thought of what I am going to say to the lads?’ So it definitely does have its effect emotionally on you.

“In fairness, out of 24 teams there are only six managers who can feel like this. There are 17 clubs in this division who have changed their manager at least once this season. It is just lunacy isn’t it? That is why it is difficult to enjoy.”