Disappointed boss Neil Warnock has revealed how he stepped in to stop “sloppy” Rotherham United suffering an even greater humbling at Hull City.
The Millers, with their Championship safety already guaranteed, lost 5-1 on the final day of the season at the KC Stadium.
They trailed 4-1 at the interval and Warnock laid into his players, fearing their opponents could come close to double figures.
“I didn’t think I’d be giving a rollicking at half-time on the last game of the season with nothing riding on it,” he said.
“I couldn’t really repeat what I said to the players at half-time, but I think my blood pressure went up.
“It wasn’t a lot. It was about playing for your pride and people doing the jobs they were supposed to do.
“Full-backs were miles away from the wide players. It was so sloppy it was untrue, and that was when we were winning let alone when we were losing.”
Rotherham had led 1-0 thanks to Lee Frecklington’s 16th-minute volley, but were then hit by a Tigers whirlwind as Robert Snodgrass, Abel Hernandez, Jake Livermore and Mo Diame struck before the break.
Warnock’s men, who had sealed their survival a fortnight ago after an 11-match unbeaten run, restricted the home side to a solitary goal, scored by Livermore, in the second half.
The Millers manager acknowledged that his side’s focus had slipped since the goalless draw at Molineux on April 23 had made their place in the second tier mathematically certain.
“At Hull, they showed if they are not all together they can get beat by anyone,” he said.
Since his appointment in February 16 matches ago, the 67-year-old has led the Rotherham out of the drop zone and seen them finish nine points clear of the relegation places.
“It’s a like a relief when you get over the line,” he said. “If you’d have said to me ‘Let’s hope we can go to Hull and get a result to stay up’ I would have snapped your hands off.
“To get it with two games to go was fantastic.”
The veteran boss will now enjoy some time off as he holds talks with chairman Tony Stewart about whether he will remain in the Rotherham hot-seat next season.
“I was ready for a break at 25 minutes gone when Hull equalised,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a long day then.”