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Neil Redfearn: We need to get our noses in front in games

Rotherham boss Neil Redfearn believes scoring the first goal in games could be the key to turning their season around.

The Millers are destined for a Christmas in the bottom three after Tuesday night’s loss at Huddersfield and with just four wins from their first 21 games they are already up against it to retain their Championship status.

One cause of their struggles this season has been a regular habit of falling behind in games and being unable to get anything out of them, picking up just one point from a losing position.

They have only scored the first goal six times this season, converting four of them into victories, while being pegged back to draw at Charlton and lose at Nottingham Forest.

Both times the Millers have gone in front in Redfearn’s spell have resulted in clean sheet and wins and the boss wants it to start happening more often.

“Something as simple as getting your noses in front, scoring the first goal, that is really important,” the boss said. “We haven’t done it enough times, prior to me coming here and also while we have been here.

“It’s something that we have talked about and something we are aware about because it is something that is important, especially in the Championship.

“The basic, simple facts are then that the opposition has to get two to win and it’s psychological.

“We need to be in a position where we get the first goal. It’s no coincidence that we get the first goal against Leeds and win, we get the first goal against Bristol City and win. We know the merits of getting a lead.”

Rotherham’s success over the last few years has been based on an ability to mount recoveries from losing positions.

They have failed to replicate that so far this season and the 1-1 draw with Reading is the only time they have battled back to register a point from a deficit.

And Redfearn believes that could have something to do with an inherent lack of fitness in the Millers squad, which was a result of a pre-season which “wasn’t great”.

“We didn’t have the energy and it’s difficult to put things into place,” Redfearn said of Tuesday’s defeat to Huddersfield. “It might well be that we have had a run of games where we have had a good tempo and that might have been a first half too far.

“We have got to find it within ourselves. I know from what I have been told that pre-season training wasn’t great.

“We didn’t have a good enough pre-season in terms of fitness so it is something we need to catch up.

“It’s got to this stage of the season where we are maybe playing catch-up fitness wise but the lads have shown a real resilience in previous games and a good fitness level.

“It’s something that we are chipping away at and something we are improving.”

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