Rotherham United's Paul Warne happier in defeat after Millers show their mettle against top Championship opposition

Paul Warne was happier after Rotherham United lost their second Championship game of the season than he had been in winning their first.

Of course the 1-0 scoreline by which his side lost to Millwall was a disappointment, but the Millers manager was pleased with a performance even opposite number Gary Rowett conceded deserved better.

In their first game at the New York Stadium since February, the hosts were the better side but they failed to turn it into goals, and were punished for a defensive mistake by Michael Ihiekwe, which Jed Wallace took advantage of.

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“It sounds a bit odd but I'm probably happier this week than I was last week,” said Warne, whose side had begun life back in the Championship with a win at League One play-off winners Wycombe Wanderers. “I thought our performance was really good and on another day we possibly could have won it.

PLEASED: Rotherham United manager Paul Warne

“Millwall defended our crosses really well and I think they're a top-eight side so our lads can take loads of confidence from it. We had some really outstanding performances but it is about taking chances and you don't get many chances to score in the Championship. Unfortunately we gave them theirs.

“We had a good chance in the first half (for Freddie Ladapo) we probably should have taken and I was hoping for the net to rattle in the second half but it wasn't to be.

“From a performance point of view and how much the lads gave for the club, I can't be prouder. To come away with nothing is disappointing.

“The game was played with a real tempo. It's a pity the fans weren't in to watch it. We asked a few questions but possibly not enough to create a gilt-edged chance. There were loads of times when I was was waiting for the net to ripple and I was falling back on and he shot and the keeper saved, but we probably need to create more if we're going to win.”

The quality of the opposition were the main reason Warne was so much more pleased than he had been seven days earlier.

“We played Wycombe last week and no disrespect but we'd both came up from League One and haven't changed our teams massively so it was like a League One fixture,” he reasoned. “So I suppose a few of them had their real debut in the Championship and they'll be pleased with themselves how well they competed. I went in there and told them that.

“I told them if we play like that we can have a really good season. I'm really optimistic, I am.

“If I thought we played badly I'd say but I thought we matched them as well as we could.”

Millwall manager Rowett admitted: “We didn't pass the ball well enough in the first half, the second half was better. Probably for 25 minutes we passed it a little better, caused them a few more problems, moved them around a little bit more and we got a bit of fortune with the goal but Jed anticipated well and took it well.

“Then we defended well for 15 minutes and headed balls out of our box. Normally it would be really easy to crumble under the pressure but I have to say we probably didn't do enough in the attacking sense to really deserve to win the game.

“I'm sure Paul will be really pleased with their performance but disappointed with the result.

“I thought it was a very difficult game. Rotherham are very good at what they do, hence the reason they were promoted last season. They want to drag you into a really physical game, which they're really good at, put a lot of balls into the box and make you have to defend.”

Ihiekwe missed a through-ball in the 51st minute, allowing Wallace to take the ball around Jamal Blackman rather too easily and score.

“He (Ihiekwe) won the game for us last week,” said Warne. “Mistakes are going to happen, it's just a pity it ended up being pivotal to the result. If it had ended up 2-1 it wouldn't be so hard for him but he's a big strong lad, he'll be alright.”

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