Boss Alan Stubbs wants Rotherham United develop a meaner edge as he embarks on his first Championship season with his new club.
Stubbs, who expects to make another signing in the next 24 hours, watched the Millers slip to a 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday and feels his players weren’t physical enough against a side that was in the Premier League last season.
“You have to have that nasty streak in you,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re up against a winger you have to make sure he knows you are there.
“I shouldn’t really say this, but every now and then lift him because it would certainly put doubt in his mind.”
Rotherham were second best at Villa Park as two goals from Rudy Gestede and one from Jack Grealish left them 19th in the table after the opening two matches.
“Closing down is not getting three or four yards from someone, it’s getting up his backside and putting pressure on his first touch,” Stubbs added. “We certainly need to do that better.
“I am not advocating kicking anybody, but you can kick someone and win the ball. There is definitely room for improvement in that.”
Rotherham travel to Brighton tomorrow and the manager, who has brought in nine players since his June 2 appointment, anticipates another recruit will arrive before the game.
“I am very confident we will have one registered on Monday,” he said.
An announcement could be made today but may be delayed until tomorrow.
Centre-half Kirk Broadfoot missed out against Villa after having an injection in his back and the Millers hope he will be available for the clash at the Amex Stadium.
“Not having Broady there for us was a blow,” Stubbs said. “We need to be more resolute with our defending.
“Of the goals we have conceded this season, three-quarters of them we have contributed to ourselves, which needs addressing.
“He was close. That’s why he travelled with us. We thought he was going to be okay but unfortunately on the morning of the game it proved not to be the case.”