Rotherham manager Paul Warne praised the efforts of his players after they were relegated from the Sky Bet Championship following their 2-1 defeat against West Brom.
Rotherham had taken a 50th-minute lead through Clark Robertson but their fate was sealed by two goals in two minutes.
Albion drew level through a Jay Rodriguez penalty after 77 minutes – his 22nd goal of the season – before Rekeem Harper’s first goal for the club ended Rotherham’s one-season stay in the Championship and condemned them to their second relegation in three years.
Warne said: “I am hugely proud of what the lads have tried to do this year. But it is obviously tinged with disappointment.
“After 65 minutes I was thinking this could be a Disney ending to the season.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be but the way we played and the way the West Brom fans clapped my team off, everyone could appreciate how hard they tried to win a football match and on another day we might have.”
Warne admitted the visitors’ dressing room was emotional after the game but joked: “I did really well – I didn’t cry, which makes a change!
“I told the players I was really proud of them and obviously there were a few tears in the dressing room.
“There is a genuine feeling between the fans and the players at the club and in the dressing room they were disappointed.
“I felt like a primary school teacher at the end of the years when the kids leave and you don’t see them again.
“I know a few of my players might leave but hopefully I can keep the majority of the group together. We will enjoy our summer and then turn up again with a smile on our face ready for another fight.”
Before their quick-fire double, Albion had struggled to show the form that had got them into the play-offs and caretaker manager Jimmy Shan admitted it was a “poor day at the office.”
Shan said: “I think that if I am being honest, the performance was a poor performance.
“I don’t think that we got going. Obviously it was difficult today with the conditions and difficult with the way that they (Rotherham) play.
“They put the ball around your backline as often as possible. Our back five defended that well but we just didn’t gain any control with the ball.
“There were moments we could have worked harder to gain control. But we just didn’t get going today.
“At half-time we spoke about making passing lines and having options for the receiver on the ball.
“Technically I thought that we were loose at times. We had some good opportunities to hurt them and penetrate.
“It was very easy to find the way to getting behind their back four and we didn’t find it. So it was a poor day at the office in terms of our performance in possession.”
Albion will head into the play-offs on the back of five successive home wins under Shan.
He added: “People with experience tell me it is good when you can win ugly and we did that today.
“Taking that record into the play-offs is exciting for the fans. We are really appreciative of the way that the fans get behind the team and almost become the 12th man.”
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