Alan Stubbs is confident he can prove opposing manager Rafa Benitez right as he plots Rotherham United’s climb up the table when they return to Championship action later this month.
The bottom-placed Millers went into the international break with the plaudits of Benitez ringing in their ears after they had given his Newcastle United high-fliers a real scare before succumbing 1-0 at sold-out New York Stadium last Saturday.
Spaniard Benitez, who lifted the Champions League trophy with Liverpool in 2005, claimed that Rotherham were too strong a side to remain in trouble for long.
And Millers manager Stubbs, encouraged by what he’d seen against third-placed Toon and at table-topping Huddersfield Town four days earlier, said: “Certainly our last two performances are not of a team in the position we’re in.
“If we keep performing like we’ve done - and there’s no reason why we won’t - then I have to say it won’t be long before we’re picking up not just points but maximum points.”
The 44-year-old knows points not plaudits are the only way for his side to build on last Saturday’s undeserved defeat against the Magpies and a hard-fought 2-1 defeat at leaders Huddersfield when they almost forced a draw.
“It’s great that someone as experienced as Rafa, who has won what’s he won, has said that,” said Stubbs.
“We know we should be higher, but the fact of the matter is we’re not.”
Stubbs has only one victory to his credit from his first 11 matches in the second tier, yet there were welcome signs of progress in the second half against the Terriers and at New York where Newcastle were pushed all the way and scored only after a clear foul on home captain Lee Frecklington had been missed by referee Roger East.
Rotherham’s next match in a tough October run is at second-placed Norwich City a week on Saturday.