Richie Barker says Rotherham United must focus on the positives despite key errors

Rotherham United assistant manager Richie Barker argued his team's 2-1 defeat to Norwich City hung on four key moments, all of which his side got wrong, but he wants the to dwell instead on the quality of their performance.

FRUSTRATION: Richie Barker
FRUSTRATION: Richie Barker

It took a stoppage-time penalty from Jordan Hugill to consign the Millers to defeat and although the Canaries had more of the ball and more of the shots, Rotherham created and wasted some very good chances after taking the lead through Freddie Ladapo's third-minute finish.

Other moments would prove more telling as Barker, conducting the post-match media duties with manager Paul Warne self-isolating, accepted.

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“It's a hard one to take no matter when the time of the goal was because of the performance,” he said.

“The whole game was really based around four key points: us missing a penalty, them getting a penalty, the own goal and the sending off.”

Ladapo missed a first-half penalty, Michael Ihiekwe put through his own net after 68 minutes and three minutes later Angus MacDonald was red-carded for a two-footed challenge. Debutant Florian Jozefzoon conceded a penalty five minutes into added time.

They were key moments but the rest of Rotherham's performance was very good.

“I'm immensely proud of the players in terms of the information they took on board and the way they worked this week,” said Barker, whose side face Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. “Unfortunately just some things didn't go for us today but in terms of endeavour and effort, work ethic, organisation and willingness to do the right things, I thought we were excellent.

“I said to the players our two best performances, unfortunately, were a 1-0 defeat at home to Millwall and a 2-1 at home to Norwich but we have to ensure the players take confidence from the good things that have happened today and if we can cut out the silly errors – we've conceded five goals in five games, two own goals, two penalties and a mistake...

“I know Jamal (Blackman, Rotherham's goalkeeper) was excellent today but hopefully we can keep that (performance level) going.”

Barker had no complaints about MacDonald's red-card, given for a challenge on Oliver Skipp right in front of the home dugout.

“I'd have to see it again but once your feet leave the floor I think it's very difficult to argue against it,” he said.

“It was right in front of me and it looked like two trains running towards each other. I look at how big, fit, athletic and strong they are and when two players run into each other like that, if your feet leave the floor under the current rules it's difficult to argue against it.”

It was undoubtably a bad challenge and although Daniel Farke and the rest of the Norwich bench and team reacted angrily to it at the time, the Canaries manager was more measured at full-time.

“I don't want to speak in a bad and negative way about an opposing player,” he said. “I don't want to speak about bad intentions because that's not my style.

“I hope and I don't think it was a bad intention, although it look horrendous.

“I nwas fearing Oliver Skipp's loan was coming to an end because such a situation can sometimes be the end of a career.

“If I'm honest I was surprised he was able to play on. It seems like nothing serious has happened, so thank God.”

The German was, though, full of praise for Rotherham.

“I know this league pretty well and you can't get as old in real life as you do in a Championship season,”he said. “For the neutral it was a top Championship game and you have to give many compliments to Rotherham because it was a top performance. You can see they have this rhythm and self-confidence after promotion (from League One) still in their game and it's no coincidence they had only lost one game before this one and never conceded more than once.

“They were brave, they were aggressive and tried to press with intensity. I liked also the performance of my team.

“I'm pretty sure not many teams will win three points at Rotherham, especially not at the beginning of the season when they are full of self-belief and have this rhythm, so to come back and win this game feels absolutely massive and many compliments to the mentality of my players.

“it was a deserved win – we had 65 per cent possession and 21 shots on goal.”

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