City tipped for big season by Millers’ deputy

Freddie Ladapo tucked Rotherham United in front but Norwich City hit back to win 2-1
Picture: Paul

Freddie Ladapo tucked Rotherham United in front but Norwich City hit back to win 2-1 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City is too good a team not to be fighting it out for Championship promotion, insisted Rotherham assistant boss Richie Barker.

Barker took charge of the Millers’ for the stoppage time 2-1 defeat with City supporting boss, Paul Warne, self isolating at home after a member of his family tested positive for coronavirus.

Rotherham’s players were unable to deliver a special result for their absent boss, but Barker felt it was a performance to be proud of.

“We are devastated. They obviously wanted to do it for the manager,” he said. “They were well aware of his Norfolk and Norwich connections and nothing would have given us more pleasure than to turn the laptop round and put the projector on and have him celebrate with the rest of them in the dressing room. That is my biggest regret because we know how massive this game is for him.

“He said it was even worse being at home but he can be extremely proud of the players. We asked the players to do it for him. But not just because of that. They are devastated at the effort they put in to come away with nothing.

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“We have to stay upbeat and take confidence from it but it is a monumental effort for no points.”

Jordan Hugill’s 95th minute spot kick settled a turbulent game that had two penalties and a red card for Rotherham defender Angus MacDonald.

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“I hope the boys can take confidence from it because Norwich is an extremely good team,” said Barker. “I am sure they will be in the shake up for the promotion spots at the end of the season and I felt we more than matched them and competed with them.

“That was a Premier League team six months ago and we were in League One. I believe if you had just come down from Mars and was watching that you would not have said there was two divisions between the sides last year.

“That is the positive we have to take but we have to learn and recognise the vital parts of the game that are the difference at this level.

“In the end it came down to four key points: we miss a penalty, give a penalty away, score an own goal and have a man sent off.

“You can be as organised, as athletic and as good on the ball as you like but that was effectively what decided this game.”

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