Rotherham United hope to bounce back from their lacklustre 3-1 defeat at the weekend to Coventry against Watford tonight at Vicarage Road.
Leading into Rotherham’s game against Coventry, they had two tough games back to back against Bournemouth and Brentford.
The Millers ran out of steam in the second half against the Bees but barring that; it was a really positive couple of performances.
This created expectation that Paul Warne’s men would pick up at least a point against fellow promoted side Coventry on Saturday.
Sadly, Rotherham were well off the pace at St Andrew’s. Coventry started quickly and eventually ran out 3-1 winners. The manner of the defeat made it even more damaging for the Millers.
It was a very uncharacteristic display as they were outworked by Mark Robins’ side. Rotherham are now 20th in the Championship with 13 points from 16 games. Warne’s men are also just two points above the relegation zone.
Watford will be another difficult test for Rotherham. The former Premier League side are expected to be among the promotion challengers by the end of the season.
The Hornets have made a solid start to the new campaign. They sit seventh after 16 games, with seven wins, six draws and three defeats.
Watford’s six-game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday. They lost 1-0 at home to Cardiff City, as former Miller Kieffer Moore got the winning goal.
Their unbeaten run before Saturday included impressive victories over Preston, Coventry and Stoke City. Watford lost some important players this summer including Abdoulaye Doucouré, Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra.
But like Bournemouth, they still have a lot of quality at their disposal. Rotherham will certainly have to play far better than they did against Coventry to have any chance of getting any points at Vicarage Road…
— Watford StatZone (@watfordsz) December 7, 2020
It has been over five years since the last meeting between the two sides. They faced off in February 2015 in the season Watford were promoted to the Premier League. Troy Deeney scored in the middle of two Odion Ighalo goals as the Hornets were comfortable 3-0 winners.
The sides have only faced off twice since 2005. Their other recent game was at the New York Stadium at the start of the 2014/15 campaign. Watford won 2-0 that day thanks to goals from Lloyd Dyer and Gianni Munari.
Rotherham’s last win over Tuesday’s opponents was in Division One in February 2003. Martin McIntosh and Chris Swailes both netted as the Millers came from behind to win 2-1.
The Millers did the double over Watford that season. They also won 2-1 at Milmoor earlier in the campaign, as Richie Barker secured Ronnie Moore’s side the win.
After promising showings against Bournemouth and Brentford, the Coventry loss is really concerning for Rotherham United.
The Millers pride themselves on their hard work and drive in games. But this was completely missing against Coventry. A below-par Rotherham were also outworked, which is even more disheartening.
This performance left Warne completely aghast post-match. He could not believe what he saw from his players. Rotherham may be beaten by better quality teams this season. But being outworked by their opponents is inexcusable for a side who must fight for every single point.
- How well do you remember Paul Warne’s four years as Millers boss?
- Top 5 Positives: Rotherham United at the Don Valley Stadium
- Remembering Rotherham United’s 1980/81 promotion season
- Top 10 Near Miss Rotherham United Signings
The Rotherham faithful will be hopeful that the Coventry display is just a one-off. Under Warne, this kind of performance has been very rare to find.
One of Warne’s best qualities as a manager is that he drags every single ounce of effort from all of his players. When Rotherham do not manage this in the second tier, they come unstuck.
This upcoming game against Watford will likely be looked back on as a standout point of the season for Rotherham. How they respond from the disgruntling defeat to Coventry will give us an insight into the squad’s mentality this year.
Results and performances like that can be the breaking of certain teams. But you must have confidence in Warne and the squad that he has built that they can come back stronger.
It is just in their nature that they will bounce back and continue to fight for points week after week. The Coventry showing came out of absolutely nowhere. It was a performance that was the polar opposite of what you expect from this Rotherham United team.
Warne needs a reaction from his side against Watford. Should they put in a similar display as against Coventry, they will be on the end of a thumping from a team who spent over £40m on new recruits last season.
The defeat on Saturday should be a big wake up call for Rotherham. If it was not clear already, it has now been made obvious to Warne’s players that in this league, they will lose if they put in anything less than 100%.
The pressure is mounting, but we trust that Rotherham will put in a trademark display against Watford. This game is a free hit with the Millers fully expected to lose.
All that supporters can ask for – even more so after Saturday – is that their team puts in maximum effort. If Rotherham can perform at a similar level as against Bournemouth, they will be well in the game.
We expect Watford to pick up a narrow win as their quality should separate the sides in the end. But this is a game where the performance is as important as the result for Rotherham.
If the Millers can return to their fully committed and passionate selves, morale will be boosted heading into the rest of the festive period.