Paul Warne’s Rotherham ended an eventful week in familiar fashion as they went down 2-1 to Burton.
Goals from Jackson Irvine and Matty Palmer ensured they began life after Kenny Jackett with a 14th defeat of the season.
Here’s five things we learned from the game at the Pirelli Stadium.
Warney deserved better
Reduced to tears during both his pre-match and post-match press conference, it was plain to see exactly what it meant to Paul Warne to lead the Millers and everybody was desperate for him to get something out of the game. He certainly deserved to given how much he has clearly put into this week. Ultimately it was not to be and the experience may well have decided once and for all that he has no serious designs about becoming the permanent manager. On this evidence it is simply not worth the risk of losing his current position by taking on what is an impossible job and nobody can blame him for that. Warne is loved by the fans, loved by the players and loved by the media, he should be embraced by the club and is sure to be kept on, whoever the new manager is.
Rotherham could easily not win again this season
It is quite conceivable to think that, unless there is some impressive January recruitment, the Millers could go through the whole season without winning again such is the disparity between them and the rest of the division. Burton was a game that surely represented the Millers’ best chance of winning, yet they were decidedly second best in every department. As bad as it has been this season, everyone probably had just a flicker of hope that the game at the Pirelli Stadium would be the start of a revival. However, the same old failings refuse to go away as both goals were a result of poor defending, though Burton’s crucial second was a stunning strike. For Rotherham to get anywhere in a game everything has to go their way and as soon as Jon Taylor missed those two early chances the writing was on the wall.
There was no lack of effort
In recent weeks there have been questions asked about the effort put in by the players, but under Warne that was never in doubt. This defeat at Burton was not due to lack of effort, it just went to highlight further that the players – mainly those signed in the summer – are simply not good enough for the Championship. Dominic Ball was showcased as a player terribly out of his depth at centre-half, Will Vaulks followed up a promising display last week with a totally ineffective performance, Darnell Fisher continues to lack any defensive nous, Anthony Forde did not take his chance on his first start since August and Jon Taylor continues to lack any end product. Tom Adeyemi put the yards in but did not affect the match, Danny Ward was as poor as he has been and Izzy Brown is continuing to flatter to deceive.
The fans won’t forget
Rotherham have come up against Chris O’Grady many times since his infamous refusal to defer his wages during the club’s financial struggles in 2007, but the Millers fans will never forget what he did and they won’t allow him to forget it either. O’Grady was the recipient of dog’s abuse for the entire time he was on the pitch, but it was the striker who had the last laugh as he was a constant threat throughout the afternoon, relishing in coming up against Ball, who he frankly had for breakfast. O’Grady is by no means one of the top strikers in the division, but his movement and strength was too much for Ball and he gave the Millers youngster a torrid afternoon.
What’s up with Aimen Belaid?
Given how poorly Rotherham have defended this season and, in particularly, how badly Ball was schooled by O’Grady, something must really be wrong with Aimen Belaid for him not to get a chance. Frozen out under Neil Warnock and then injured in the early part of the season, the Tunisian has been on the bench for much of the last two months, yet never been given a sniff in the first team. This is at odds with everything we saw of him in his first few games at the beginning of the year. He looked quick, mobile and not without strength so for him not to be considered is something of a mystery. Ball and Dael Fry appear unsuitable partners for Richard Wood while Kirk Broadfoot is out injured, so now has to be the time Belaid gets a run. He genuinely cannot be any worse.