Rotherham boss Matt Taylor relieved to hold on for Sunderland win

Matt Taylor was delighted his side held on for victory (Rhianna Chadwick/PA)
PA Sport Staff

Rotherham boss Matt Taylor said his side’s 2-1 win over Sunderland relieved the pressure in their battle against relegation from the Sky Bet Championship.

The Millers had won just once in 12 games since beating Sheffield United in November but came good with goals either side of half-time from Ollie Rathbone and Shane Ferguson.

They had to work hard for it as Joe Gelhardt’s first goal for Sunderland since his January loan move from Leeds made a game of it, but Taylor’s side held on to move five points clear of the drop zone.

“That is the feel of football,” he said. “We were incredible performance-wise against Reading, we played pretty well in the first half against Coventry but we didn’t pick any points up and all of a sudden the pressure builds, the frown gets bigger and the weight of your head gets heavier than previously.

“We started the game well, we needed Ollie’s goal to go in to settle our attacking play down, that was the best we have been in an attacking sense.

“There was more space on that pitch. The second half was having to see out some moments from some very good opposition. I am delighted we have done that.

“Every win is going to be important, every win has been important, every win we are going to get from this point will be important. In terms of where the group was feeling and the expectation in the fanbase and the outside world, we know other teams are picking up in terms of their form.

“Performance-wise I have been relatively pleased, but I can’t keep being a manager who is pleased with a performance and not picking up any points. It is a big three points but very much on to the next.”

Sunderland did not start playing until they were 2-0 down but after Gelhardt’s first goal for the Black Cats they threw everything at their hosts in the final half-hour and were only denied a point by some fine saves by Millers goalkeeper Viktor Johansson.

Boss Tony Mowbray, whose side would have gone fourth with a win, said his side were not allowed to be at their best.

“We weren’t at the level we normally play and that is credit to them,” he said.

“We haven’t lost away from home since October, it is not a problem for us. We don’t like losing. It is frustrating, we should be coming to Rotherham and winning.

“There are a few lessons to be learned tonight, we have to be playing at maximum to get results in every game and there were one or two that didn’t quite reach maximum.

“We shouldn’t be losing the game in the way we did. Rotherham make it really difficult, they are very good off the ball. If you want to be a top team you have to overcome that and the first half wasn’t good enough.

“Tonight was a really, really tough game.”