Richie Smallwood has called on Rotherham United’s players to smile through the pain as they bid to revive their Championship fortunes.
The Millers have lost four of their opening five league matches and headed into the international break in bottom spot after a home defeat against Fulham last Saturday
But the midfielder believes it’s vital he and his teammates keep up their spirits before resuming action on September 12 at Charlton Athletic.
“I think we have to stick together and keep working hard for each other,” Smallwood said. “In between all that, you have to try to enjoy it and keep a smile on your face as well.
“No-one likes losing. On the training ground, we have to stick together and keep the banter up.”
The 24-year-old is ready for a tough fortnight as the Millers take the opportunity presented by time away from competitive action to regroup.
We’re going to have to get working hard on the training ground and get stuck in because, at the end of the day, it’s a tough league and one point from fives games isn’t good enough,” he acknowledged.
“We’re going to have to dig in and try to put it right.”
The transfer window closes today at 6pm, with manager Steve Evans hoping to add to his squad, while their could be departures at AESSEAL New York Stadium as well.
Rotherham slipped up 3-1 against a Cottagers team who had also been searching for their first win in the second tier this season.
“It was a tough game against a good side with good, technical players. They passed the ball well,” Smallwood said.
The Millers were two goals down after 15 minutes and conceded third in time added on after Matt Derbyshire had missed a penalty in the 54th minute and Jonson Clarke-Harris had put them back in the game with 17 minutes to go.
“I’m disappointed it took us until 2-0 down to have a little go. I don’t think the performance was lack-lustre,” Smallwood added. “Their first goal just set us back just a little bit.
“At 2-0, we knew the next goal would be crucial. We got that and tried to kick on. We changed tactics at half-time but they used the ball well and took the sting out of the game a little bit.
“The earlier we score in the second half, the better, and unfortunately the keeper’s made a good save from Matt’s penalty. Jono got us back into it and we had a little go, but it wasn’t quite enough in the end.
“But, at the end of the day, we still had some chances to win the game. Maybe we didn’t have much of the ball, but we still had chances, so obviously there are some little positives in there.”
Meanwhile, Frazer Richardson is likely to be fit again by the time the international break is over.
The defender who was covering at left-back was carried off with an ankle injury against Fulham, but his recovery is expected to take only a matter of days.