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Five things we learned from the Blackburn game

Rotherham proved their Championship credentials on Tuesday night with a spirited victory over Blackburn, ending a five-game winless run.

It came thanks to first-half goals from Kari Arnason and Luciano Becchio, but was underpinned by a superb all-round team effort.

Here's five things we learned from a game that was reassuring and promising.

Hard work pays off

A key part of Steve Evans’ ethos is making sure his team works harder than the opposition and anyone not willing to tow the line will be slung out of the club, just like Nicky Adams was. And the second goal against Rovers proved why the tireless work-rate is so important. Having lost the ball Ben Pringle was incessant in his chasing down of hapless defender Ryan Tunnicliffe, who sold goalkeeper Jason Steele short with his backpass, and it clattered into the legs of Luciano Becchio, rolling into an unguarded net. A slice of luck perhaps, but created by the work-rate of Pringle, who sadly will not be able to claim an assist.

Steve Evans is the new Tinkerman

Evans takes great pride in selecting a team that he thinks deserves to play, rather than doing so on reputation or past achievements. That is a credible way to go about things and has to be the only way when operating with a squad of around 24 first-teamers. But it is definitely not the breeding ground for consistent team selection and there was another three changes to Evans’ starting XI from Saturday’s defeat at Ipswich. That took his total changes in the nine Championship games after the season-opener at Derby to 22, with some players not knowing whether they are coming or going. With Becchio ineligible for Saturday’s trip to Norwich and Kirk Broadfoot picking up an ankle injury, there looks like being at least two more next time out.

Scoring when on top is key

This is an age-old philosophy, but it seems the Millers have been stung by it on so many occasions already, not only this season, but just under Evans in general. It is particularly important to make pressure count at this level as witnessed in the recent defeat to Watford, where the home side blitzed their opposition for 60 minutes, failed to score and were picked off at the other end. Luckily, a repeat was never on the cards on Tuesday night as they got an early goal and then doubled the lead on the half-hour. The game could have been put out of sight with several other chances, but the two goals proved enough.

Will there be one, two or three changes for the Millers next time out?

Be glad Becchio is a Miller

Evans intimated that Becchio is beginning to show the best of himself following his first 90-minute performance and his partnership with Alex Revell looked very impressive. But the Argentinian’s histrionics when challenged by defenders would be infuriating if he was on the opposition. He rolled over at least six times when clattered by Grant Hanley early in the game, which would have done any potential injury no good, while went down holding his head later on in the game when a challenge hit him in the lower back. But, the Millers have had it done to them many times over the years so there can’t be too many complaints and his high-profile nature could hold more sway with referees, which could benefit the side in dangerous areas. And as long as he keeps scoring, he can go down as easily as he wants.

Gary Bowyer doesn't take defeat graciously

Blackburn boss and ex-Miller Gary Bowyer had some decent press in the build-up to this game and he spoke highly of his former club. But he cut a different figure in his post-match press conference as he clearly took defeat hard. He made the journalists wait a toe-curling minute or so while he wrote an incognito note to Rovers’ press officer who was stood next to him, briefing his colleague that he had something to say about Millers boss Steve Evans. 

Rovers boss Gary Bowyer was on the war-path after this defeat

Then he gave prickly one-line answers throughout and was unhappy that the Millers club photographer was taking pictures of him, asking him to stop, again via his press officer. He didn’t take long to bring his beef with Evans up, unhappy that the Millers boss had made reference to Jordan Rhodes’ wages in before the game. Bowyer said: “Jordan Rhodes missed a chance, contrary to the Rotherham manager’s quote in the local paper about how much he is supposedly on a week, which is appalling from another manager.”

After a three-minute stay in the press room, he was done and walked out chuntering about Rhodes’ wages, saying he was not on anything like the £50,000 a week that Evans’ throwaway line had suggested. Safe to say he wasn’t off to the manager’s office for a post-match Budweiser.

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