New boss Neil Redfearn admits the task he is facing at Rotherham United is harder than he first anticipated.
The 50-year-old begins his fourth week in the role today still seeking his first win after Saturday’s 3-0 Championship defeat at promotion favourites Derby County led him to accuse his team of lacking spirit.
The Millers are now in bottom spot, and when asked if the job was proving tougher than he thought he said: “I think it is.
“You come in and you initially assess and see what you have got, but the acid test is three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.”
Using a cricket analogy, he added: “I have seen loads of batsmen get runs in the nets. It’s when you take guard and have got to go and bat and get runs for real that it counts. I look at us and when it really matters we haven’t got enough. We are feeling sorry for ourselves, and we can’t do that.”
Paul Green came on as a half-time substitute and gave his all, and Redfearn held up the midfield man as an example to other players in his squad.
“To be fair to Paul, when he came on, he got on the ball and tried to play and showed a big heart,” he said.
“I mentioned that afterwards. It’s important. He might not be the most fashionable player, but he has got a big heart and wants to play, and they are the type of players you need.”
The Millers played well in Redfearn’s first two games in charge, against Brentford and Reading, before losing out in the second half against Sheffield Wednesday and then turning in an insipid display at the iPro Stadium.
“We had 20 minutes where we showed a little bit, where we got after them, but nowhere near enough,” he said. “I am expecting a much-improved performance at Middlebsrough on Tuesday.
“The disappointing thing for me today is that there’s more to us than that. We didn’t show enough today. We’ve had two and a half decent performances and not had results, but today we were poor.”
Striker Matt Derbyshire missed Saturday’s match with an ankle injury and is a concern ahead of the trip to the Riverside Stadium.
“He has taken a whack on his ankle, “ Redfearn revealed. “He’s had a scan and it is not as bad as first feared.
“Hopefeully if it settles down he will have a chance for Tuesday.”