How Rotherham United will be looking to improve their game management in the Championship

Rotherham go into the Championship campaign knowing their game management has to be better than it was last time they were there.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 2:52 pm

In 2018/19 the Millers dropped a staggering 35 points from winning positions throughout the course of the campaign – a pivotal reason why they went down.

The odds of them doing so are of course higher when they are up against teams who are paying their players up to four times as much – quality players find ways of winning games.

But even still, that figure was too high and even if just some of those points they threw away had been kept they would have stayed up.

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Rotherham United manager Paul Warne and assistant manager Richie Barker will be hoping their side's game management will be better in the Championship this time around than it was two years' ago. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

One such game was against newly-relegated Stoke at home. Paul Warne's men were 2-0 up in the second half, but fell away in the final 30 minutes.

Assistant boss Richie Barker knows the perils his side face at the higher level.

“Game management is a big part of things in the Championship,” the number two said. “When you are beating Coventry and Peterborough 4-0 and Bolton 6-1 in League One, it is less important.

“That match at home to Stoke still stands out. There is a recognition in the Championship that being 2-0 up with not that long to go isn't the same for us as it is in League One. Championship sides can score three goals as quickly as they want.

“If you're winning 2-0 or 2-1 with ten minutes to go, it's about seeing the game out and ensuring you don't give simple opportunities to good players.

“In League One when you're 4-0 up against Coventry and Peterborough and when you’re 3-0 up after an hour against Bristol Rovers, you sort of get the impression the lads can see it through.

“We will continue to try to score goals and to create as many chances as possible. We just have to be a little bit more aware of those opposition half-chances, those free-kicks in and around our box, set-plays, things like that. They can easily change a 1-0 win into a 2-1 defeat.”

The Millers begin away at fellow promoted side Wycombe, where they have only ever won once in seven visits – a 1-0 win in 2001 when Alan Lee's late header sent Ronnie Moore's side to the top of Division Two.

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