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Relegation-threatened Rotherham must take their chances – Paul Warne

Everton v Rotherham United – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Goodison Park
(Image credit: Peter Byrne)

Rotherham manager Paul Warne has told his players they must start taking their chances following their damaging 1-0 Championship loss to Reading.

The Millers are now five points adrift of safety and are on a losing run of five games ahead of a crunch short midweek trip to Hillsborough to face relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Defender Michael Morrison netted the winner at the second time of asking from Omar Richards’ cross.

His initial effort was kept out by goalkeeper Viktor Johansson but the rebound came back to him and his second was deemed to have crossed the line.

Warne said: “I think against a good Reading team, we created enough to get something out of it. But you’re judged by your two boxes and we just weren’t good enough in the final third.

“I was just waiting for the net to ripple. Lady luck has eluded us with the deflected shot.”

“We have to dig in and fight for survival but I just don’t think we are taking our chances in the final third. We didn’t do enough to come away with anything.”

Reading had chances to make the points safe but both Alfa Semedo and Lucas Joao should have done better with good opportunities from close range.

Rotherham’s best hopes of a leveller looked like coming from long range but their shooting was wayward with both frontmen Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo off target.

The big scare for the visitors came in time added on when Ben Wiles’ effort from the edge of the box was deflected just wide of the post.

With the successive defeats all being by a single goal, Warne knows the fine margins are hurting his side’s chances of survival.

He added: “We had to change our shape which was a massive blow but all in all, that’s five defeats on the spin all by a single goal.

“We are creating chances, we’re just not taking them. Sometimes you need one chance to win a game. If we weren’t creating anything it would be an even bigger problem.

“We have got 15 absolute fights ahead of us to stay up.”

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic was relieved to get their promotion push back under way after a patchy run saw them claim just one win in the previous six.

He said: “I am very happy with the result and the performance too. The way we played against a team with a peculiar style. It was very hard for us.

“Winning today gives us an important boost and a chance to build new momentum. It was a big win for everyone in the changing room.

“There is a different buzz in the changing room. This was probably the toughest game for me since becoming Reading manager.

“We didn’t convert our opportunities. At the end of the day, the substitutions helped a lot. We defended the set-pieces which was crucial.

“We had our chances in the second half. At this point of the season, playing defensive is wrong. You have to be ruthless in execution. In the last two months of the season, you have to be ruthless.

“This win means a lot and everyone has contained happiness. In a couple of days we have to prove ourselves again.”