Rotherham boss Paul Warne declared his side’s honeymoon period over after their Championship return began in a familiar fashion with a 5-1 defeat at Brentford.
The Millers were on a crest of a wave following a brilliant end to last season, where they won promotion from League One, but they came crashing down after being run ragged by the Bees.
Goals from Neal Maupay (2), Sergi Canos, Ollie Watkins and Lewis Macleod reminded the Millers just how tough life in the Championship will be for Warne’s men.
Will Vaulks got a consolation for the visitors, but they suffered their worst opening day defeat since losing 6-1 to Bristol City in 1958.
After a summer full of positivity and optimism, Warne accepts this defeat has acted as a wake-up call.
“It has made it a little bit more real, since the end of the season the lads have had a nice little honeymoon period where everything feels good and rightfully so,” Warne said in his post-match press conference.
“It is a reality check, we could have had nicer first games to be honest.
FT| Brentford 5 v 1 Millers.
Vaulks with a late consolation for the Millers.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) August 4, 2018
“I think it was a rude awakening for us, myself included, I’m the one who picked the team, it’s not the lads’ fault, they played the way I asked them to play.”
Warne tempered the disappointment in his own side’s display with praise for the opposition, describing Brentford as “amazing”.
And Warne was also envious of opposite number Dean Smith and the players he has at his disposal.
“I just think we came up against an amazing Brentford side and we won’t be the only team to get beaten here, that’s for sure,” Warne added.
“The goal just before half-time was a killer and then for them to get that one so soon after, to be honest it was damage limitation. Hand on heart all around the pitch they were better than us.
“Respect to Brentford, if I can end up managing a team with players like that in then ace. But it has given the lads a bit of a rude awakening.
“I’d be a bit naive after a 5-1 defeat to say everything was perfect, it wasn’t perfect, I’m not criticising my players, they played the way I asked them to play.
“But hand on heart they have got amazing players. If I played left wing and I went to close the right-back down and he has got more power, pace and ability than me, I could try as hard as I like, but sometimes you have to hold your hand up and say, ‘They’re an amazing team’.”