WHEN Daniel Nardiello cupped his hand to his ear after his equaliser the other night, pointedly doing so in the direction of his manager Steve Evans, there were no likely recriminations from the Rotherham United boss. Only delight.
Evans wasn’t bothered about that particular response from his striker. He was only interested in the overall response that came from him.
After a six game absence from the starting line-up, Nardiello was reinstated at Aldershot last Saturday, earning fulsome praise from Evans who said he’d covered every blade of grass.
But at half-time of Tuesday’s game with Morecambe, Evans wanted more from the front man.
“I told him at half-time that he wasn’t working hard enough,” said Evans.
“I saw an angry Daniel Nardiello for the first time at half-time. It wasn’t shouting and bawling and I wasn’t in his face. It was about bringing a striker in and people having to show me why I shouldn’t.
“He put his shirt back on, had a drink of water and I shook his hand as he went out for the second half and said ‘‘Go and show me’.
“Well, he showed me, didn’t he? I love him.
“He showed me on Saturday (at Aldershot). He showed me on Tuesday. He’s to show me against Plymouth on Saturday. But that’s not just him - the standards apply to everybody.
“He’s a bright young man anbd probably thinks about the game more than most here.
“He probably beats himself up if he’s not playing or has been taken off. He’ll come and ask and I love that.”
Evans said that he told his striker that if he didn’t step up it up then he’d be taken off.
“But I’m learning too,” addmitted Evans. “I’m learning about Daniel Nardiello, about players. Perhaps a month or so ago I’d have taken him off at half-time.”
He added; “We, they, are learning about each other all the time. We’re getting there.
“They probably think by bawling and shouting that I’m overreacting. But what’s the opposite? Underreacting. What’s that? That you don’t give a damn.
“Well, I certainly do. So take the shouting out of it and grab the content because the content is normally right. Just check the dvd.”
The double in Tuesday’s victory took Nardiello’s tally to five.
On Saturday the Millers entertain Plymouth Argyle.