Rotherham United boss Paul Warne hails striker Michael Smith as he sets about changing his players' mindsets

Rotherham boss Paul Warne has called on his side to stop showing the opposition too much respect.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 10:17 am

The Millers have lost their last two away games – a 1-0 reverse at Swansea before a 3-2 loss at QPR – after particularly poor first-half performances, where Warne says they were too mindful of the opposition.

There is going to be a fine balance to strike between paying the other team too much attention and going all out when Bournemouth visit the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday.

“I have a theory, I have been speaking to the lads, I don't know, it's not come from us, maybe the lads have too much respect for the opposition and just sit off them a little bit,” Warne said.

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Rotherham United striker Michael Smith, right, in action against Queens Park Rangers at The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Tuesday night. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

“You sit off against the better teams they hurt you and we have to unbelievable teams coming up in Bournemouth and Brentford.

“If you sit off them and don't want to make a tackle then you are in all sorts of bother.

“That has been two games where we haven't started well, we allow the home teams to get a head of steam up, confidence and they think, 'This isn't the Rotherham team we thought we were going to play against'.

“They get their creative players on the pitch, they get more and more dangerous and that is what I saw.

“It is my job to put that right. It is difficult to change people mindsets. That is what it looked like, I could be wrong.

“When we play the way we play we can give anyone a game.”

While there was plenty to concern Warne in the 3-2 loss at Loftus Road, the performance of striker Michael Smith did at least soothe him.

Smith was a key performer last time the Millers were in the Championship and was linked with several big-money moves, but he has endured a slow start this time around.

However, he led the line with aplomb and bagged his first goal of the season in London.

“I’m buzzing with Smudge,” Warne said. “I think he was our standout player by a country mile, he led the line really well, he worked hard and he caused them problems.

“Every time a cross came in, I fancied him to get on the end of it and he got himself a deserved goal.

“His performance was one of the highlights of the first half for me for sure. That really pleased me and he looks a lot more like the Smudge we love.”

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