The areas where it went wrong for Paul Warne’s relegated Rotherham United

Rotherham are contemplating yet another Championship relegation following their final-day heartbreak at Cardiff.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:41 am

The Millers were two minutes away from staying up until they let in a late leveller in a 1-1 draw which condemned them to the drop.

It ended a season that could have been so different. Here, The Star takes a look at where it went wrong for Paul Warne's side.

Regular missed chances

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Paul Warne, Manager of Rotherham United reacts after Cardiff City score an equaliser in the Sky Bet Championship.

No side scores all of their chances but Rotherham missed more than most throughout the course of the season. XG is a relatively new statistic, charting the expected number of goals a team should score based on quality of chances, and it makes grim reading for Rotherham.

While the 44 goals they scored was 18th highest in the division, the XG was actually the ninth best over the course of 46 games.

Applying XG to every game the Millers should have picked up an extra eight points, comfortably enough to keep them in the division.

Narrow defeats

Nobody lost more than Rotherham's 26, which was well over half of their games. But while they were outclassed in some of the defeats for most of them they matched their opponents. Nineteen of those 26 losses were by one goal, while they lost an incredible 13 of them 1-0. The margins were fine and had just two of those losses been draws then the Millers would have stayed up.

Late goals

Another feature of the Millers campaign was letting in late goals, so it is perhaps fitting that they went down because of one. They conceded 11 goals in the final 10 minutes of matches, turning wins into draws, draws into defeats and in one case a win into a defeat to the tune of a whopping 12 points. Just avoiding two of those late goals would have seen the Millers stay up.

Coronavirus

The pandemic is arguably the most definitive factor in their season, given the consequences of two outbreaks at the club. An outbreak in December and again in February saw five games called off, and coupled with bad weather, it left the Millers facing an impossible schedule at the back end of the campaign where they were forced to play 12 games in 37 days.

In the middle of that was an unforgiving run of four games in nine games, which the Millers lost all four. It meant at the business end of the season, where results were so important Warne's side had no recovery time and that told.