Rotherham United have a Goodison blueprint to beat the drop

THE template for Rotherham United’s Championship survival plan was created amid the Premier League surroundings of Goodison Park on Saturday.
Rotherham's Freddie Ladapo: On way back.  
Picture : Jonathan GawthorpeRotherham's Freddie Ladapo: On way back.  
Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Rotherham's Freddie Ladapo: On way back. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

That is the view of right-sided defender Matt Olosunde, outstanding in the Millers’ narrow FA Cup exit after extra-time to Everton in one of the club’s best performances of the season – regardless of elimination from the competition.

It was a display which showcased the very best of the Paul Warne era as United outbattled and outplayed the hosts during regulation time.

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Warne, somewhat sensibly, spoke of the dangers of the Millers players basking in praise ahead of the resumption of league business with a key “six-pointer’’ on the horizon at Derby County on Saturday.

But equally, it showed just what his side are capable of – after bettering an Everton side which contained a number of internationals and senior players in its starting line-up.

Olosunde, who scored his first goal in senior football to crown a fine performance on the right, commented: “As a team, we know we can compete. We know what we can do when we are all ‘at’ it, when we are on the front foot, pressing and playing forward.

“Hopefully, we can continue with that mentality and take a bit of this game into the next one.

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“This definitely gives us belief that we can compete against teams in the Championship. It shows we should never give teams too much respect because we are good ourselves. We are a good team.”

The Millers’ performance arrived without the presence of joint top-scorer Freddie Ladapo, who missed the game with a groin niggle, but who should be available for the trip to Derby which is followed by a key home game with Stoke City next Tuesday evening.

When questioned on the absence of Ladapo, Warne added: “There is no massive drama, I thought people were going to ask if there was a big-money move, all the fans will have seen him not on the bench and think he has left. To my knowledge he hasn’t.

“It is not really serious. It was the fact that we had this opportunity to take the rest because it was becoming more and more frustrating for him.

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“He has done loads of work with the physios, he had an injection and had a couple of days off.”

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