Far from criticising the indiscipline that saw full-back Billy Jones and midfielder Ritchie Towell red-carded in the second half, the Millers’ boss exuded pride over a battling performance.
Rotherham spent the last quarter of the match with a two-man disadvantage. But it was not until the 86th minute that Adam Webster headed home a Jack Hunt cross to break their resistance.
Warne said: “I am not the sort of manager to contest refereeing decisions. I felt we were the better side 11 against 11 and after the red cards we defended really well.
“We failed to defend one cross into our box. Had it not been for that mistake my players would have left the pitch feeling like gladiators and it would have been a real lift for the games ahead.
“Every match in the Championship is like a cup final for us. But the spirit is clearly there to lift us up the table.
“I am really proud of what I saw. We had good first-half chances and I was disappointed not to come off at least 1-0 up at the interval.
“The sendings-off changed the game. There are no complaints from me over our performance and we just have to pick ourselves up and go again.
“The biggest compliment I can pay me team, apart from the fact that our fans stayed on at the end to cheer them off, is that the ball went out of play in the ‘93rd’ minute and the Bristol supporters didn’t want to give it to us.”
Rotherham went down to 10 men after 64 minutes when Jones, booked 12 minutes earlier, was shown a second yellow card for pulling back Famara Diedhiou.
Ten became nine after 72 minutes when Towell leapt into a late challenge on Josh Brownhill in the centre of the pitch, earning a straight red from referee Scott Duncan.
Webster’s first goal since signing from Ipswich last summer eventually made the difference as the hosts extended their unbeaten run to seven games. “You have to credit Rotherham for showing tremendous spirit with nine men,” City boss Lee Johnson said. “They made it really difficult for us.”
Bristol City: Maenpaa, Hunt, Kalas, Webster, Dasilva (Eliasson 77), Pack, O’Dowda (Weimann 79), Brownhill, Paterson, Adelakun (Taylor 59), Diedhiou. Unused substitutes: Wright, Kelly, O’Leary, Morrell.
Rotherham: Rodak, Jones, Ajayi, Robertson, Mattock, Vaulks, Taylor (Forde 83), Towell, Wiles (Raggett 67), Williams (Manning 76), Smith. Unused substitutes: Wood, Palmer, Price, Newell.
Referee: S Duncan (Tyne & Wear).