Neil Redfearn savoured his best moment as Rotherham United manager and then revealed it had been inspired by his worst day in the Millers hot-seat.
The new boss’s side racked up their biggest win since returning to the Championship as they beat Bristol City 3-0 at AESSEAL New York Stadium last Saturday.
Before the game he told his team to be like the Ipswich Town outfit which had humbled them 5-2 before the international break.
“I mentioned it in my pre-match talk, Ipswich and the valuable lesson they taught us about life in this division when they beat us at home,” Redfearn said.
“Basically, for 20 to 25 minutes, Ipswich beat us up. They kept slinging it in behind us, turning us round. They got the midfielders up the pitch and won every second ball. It crushed us.
“We want to come out and do something similar, and I think the boys are buying into it.”
The Millers squad are obviously fast learners as, since their defeat against the Tractor Boys, they have recorded back-to-back victories to move off the foot of the table and now stand only a point away from 19th place.
Rotherham endured a tricky start against the in-form Robins, but they way they played after Jonson Clarke-Harris had fired them into a 10th-minute lead had echoes of Mick McCarthy’s play-off chasers.
“When we got the goal, it started going that way round for us,” Redfearn said.
“We started getting in behind and turning them and anything that popped out into midfield we picked up. It’s difficult to play against because you start to get a stranglehold on the game.”
“Before we kicked off, I watched Ipswich play Charlton. Mick knows the division and understands the division.
“By and large, when you wrestle the initiative away from sides, you tend to get a foothold in the game, and then football takes care of itself because we have got players who can play.”
Redfearn lost five of his first six matches in charge after being appointed in October and running headlong into an run of difficult fixtures.
But the Millers have looked a different proposition since the reunion of skipper Lee Frecklington and Richie Smallwood in midfield and the arrival of free agents Stephen Kelly and Leon Best, even though striker Best was suspended for the Bristol clash.
Two goals from Clarke-Harris and one from Frecklington were the reward for an impressive all-round performance against the Robins.
“The lads have got to take a lot of credit,” Redfearn said. “They’ve worked hard and bought into it.
“The run of games would have been a tough run of games for anybody. Derby, Middesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough ... these are top sides.
“I didn’t get too down. It was disappointing. I don’t like getting beaten. But I didn’t get too down because I knew where this squad was and the tough run of games we had and that if we kept doing the right things there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
“To be fair, we’ve come out the right side.”
Meanwhile, the £185,430 the Millers spent on agents’ fees between October 2014 and September this year is the lowest of all the clubs in the Championship this year.
According to Football League figures, Blackpool, now in League One after being relegated from the second tier at the end of last season, spent £79,750 in the same period.
The biggest spenders in the Championship were Cardiff City with £2,828,133.
Full Championship Championship list:
BIRMINGHAM CITY £443,570
BLACKBURN ROVERS £1,254,610
BOLTON WANDERERS £964,869
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION £912,421
BRISTOL CITY £231,316
CARDIFF CITY £2,828,133
CHARLTON ATHLETIC £656,759
DERBY COUNTY £1,102,071
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN £429,343
HULL CITY £1,813,919
IPSWICH TOWN £261,347
LEEDS UNITED £786,897
MILTON KEYNES DONS £672,371
NOTTINGHAM FOREST £1,440,730
PRESTON NORTH END £194,961
QUEENS PARK RANGERS £2,361,742
ROTHERHAM UNITED £185,430
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY £792,203
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS £849,600