He’s gone eight games unbeaten and guided his team to near-certain Championship safety, but the man who has transformed Rotherham United’s seaason believes he could have done even better!
A 4-0 drubbing of MK Dons last weekend took the Millers nine points clear of the drop zone with only five matches left to play.
Yet in the aftermath of a match which saw his side make it 20 points out of a possible 24, manager Neil Warnock looked back at two February moments at the start of his reign that still bug him.
After drawing 0-0 with Birmingham City in their boss’s first game in charge, Rotherham missed a sitter before conceding a late goal in a 2-0 defeat at title contenders Burnley and had a stonewall penalty not given three days later in a 1-0 loss at Reading.
“I didn’t think we should have lost to Reading or Burnley, so we’d have been undefeated now, wouldn’t we?” Warnock reflected. “I am a little bit disappointed about that.
“There was an obvious penalty at Reading not given and a chance at Burnley that Joe (Newell) will never miss again.”
Newell shot wide of a gaping goal late on at Turf Moor when the Millers were only a goal behind and in the hunt for a draw, while the referee was the only person at the Madejski Stadium who didn’t believe Richie Smallwood had been tripped inside the box when the score was still 0-0.
Since then, Rotherham, who were six points adrift of safety after the Royals setback, have won six and drawn two of their last eight matches to stand on the brink of sealing their great escape.
“It just goes to show what you can do with a good group who want to listen,” Warnock said. “I think they are amazing themselves with the ability they have and what they can do with the ball. It’s a lovely situation at the minute, and you have got to enjoy it.”
The 21st-placed Millers could move close to midtable if they extend their winning run on Saturday at home to Nottingham Forest who are above them in the table only on goal difference.
Rotherham have 46 points, the same as Forest and Huddersfield Town, and are only one behind Bristol City, Fulham and Blackburn.
Three thousand supporters travelled to stadiummk to cheer the Millers to a comprehensive victory which virtually condemned the Dons to relegation, and Warnock is hoping for similar impassioned backing at AESSEAL New York Stadium this weekend.
“The fans have got behind us at home,” he said. “It has been a fabulous place, the New York Stadium. I hope they do it again against Forest.”