WHEN you’ve lost 5-0 and your side has suffered such a humiliating evening at the hands of local rivals, it is not the best time to be asked to evaluate your position as the manager.
But, as football at all levels seems to become ever more pressurised, such questions are cropping up with increasing regularity and within timespans that are shorter than ever.
Whether Ronnie Moore, normally the most amenable, approachable and accessible of managers at an after-match press briefing, expected anything along those lines is only for him to know, but his refusal to answer such a question and then walk away probably spoke as much as any platitudes he may have come out with.
Moore knows - because it is no secret - that there are high expectations at Rotherham United this season and, with that, comes increased pressure to deliver.
That pressure mounts when you have a night like the one at Chesterfield on Friday!
Millers chairman Tony Stewart - who, contrary to reports in this paper on Saturday, did remain in the second half, although he did leave his seat before the end - has made it clear that he expects promotion this season.
With much being put right, and going right, off the field, Stewart wants a return on his investment where it ultimately matters.
Whispers that he was unhappy after the away defeat at Bradford City are hardly a surprise. Stewart is used to running a successful business.
Despite it being a defeat that shouldn’t have been because the ball nowhere near crossed the line for the late Bradford winner, he could see the possibility of ‘instant’ success - ie, automatic promotion - starting to slip away. As it had done last season.
That Stewart has backed his manager is unquestioned. Moore has said, more than once, that he has received the backing - that the toolbox is open and he has access to the tools required to get the job done.
For so long, Rotherham have been strong candidates for one of the top three automatic places.
They are no longer strong candidates - just one of several. It is not beyond them but they must be more concerned now simply about making the play-offs.
With just five points separating eight teams going from fourth to 11th, the Millers are now in a scrap for a play-off place. As they found out last season, when that lottery comes along, anybody can win it and it will barely matter a jot how much money you’ve thrown at it!
In fact, by the end of Tuesday night’s games, the Millers could even be outside the play-off places should results of the three teams immediately below go against them.
It took Moore three years to get the club up from this level last time, the starting point having been a club on its uppers and with only a handful of players. It was a reasonable timescale then.
Perhaps any searching questions aren’t required. Moore has been around long enough to know that it won’t stretch to three years this time if, after getting the necessary backing, his side misses out on promotion and particularly if they were not even to make the play-offs, which was fairly unthinkable not too long ago.
Of course, Stewart wasn’t the only one to be embarrassed by Friday night’s crushing defeat at the B2net Stadium.
It was an evening that did a lot of damage, certainly not helped by live TV coverage which exposed the team to interested watchers back in Rotherham for whom this may have been a first glimpse of them.
Chesterfield were, simply, a class apart, as they are from the rest of League Two because a 13-point lead over the rest tells you they are.
Moore chose swingeing criticism of his team’s display and said it was worse than anything in his two spells as Rotherham manager.
But he could hardly fail to add that whilst it was “embarrassing” he further went on: “I pick the team and I put it out there.”
He talked in the aftermatch of the immediate challenges ahead, starting at Lincoln on Friday night.
Another night match away from home, of which there have been plenty in the last couple of months, and very little joy from any of them. The failure to arrest or sort out the away form this year, is damaging a team that has the third best home record.
The Millers really have to deliver in these final games - no questions asked!