Warne: Blame me for drop...
ROTHERHAM’S relegation from the Championship was confirmed by this defeat and interim boss Paul Warne took responsibility.
Warne has been in temporary charge since Kenny Jackett left in November, just weeks after Alan Stubbs was sacked, and was unable to change the course of a harrowing season which now contains 30 defeats.
Sone Aluko’s goal in the second half saw to that, and enhances Fulham’s chances of leaving the division at the other end as they moved into the playoff places.
For Rotherham it will be League One next season and Warne might yet get the chance to try to lead them back up, with an announcement on the club’s managerial future due on Wednesday.
But he insists responsibility for the drop, which was on the cards for most of the campaign, is on him.
“There’s a little bit of embarrassment. I took the reins a few months ago and I haven’t been good enough to get the results to keep us up and that is on my head,” Warne said.
“The performances have been okay at times but we haven’t got strength in depth, and that’s my fault, not anyone else’s.
“I don’t think anyone thought before this game that we would stay up, we weren’t going to win eight on the spin. So to have relegated next to our name isn’t too much of a shock.
“Other people have inherited similar situations and done better. I am the one who takes it home and doesn’t sleep. I take that blame.
“In my eyes I have done the best that I could but other people might disagree.”
This was a performance from Rotherham that has typified much of their season, having competed well but not having the quality to make it count. They could have led after just two minutes but Danny Ward wasted a free header from just eight yards out before Lee Frecklington saw a curling effort tipped around the post by David Button.
Fulham were enjoying over 70 per cent of the ball but had to wait until after half-time to do anything meaningful with it as Chris Martin missed a sitter when he couldn’t connect with a golden opportunity in front of goal.
That did not prove too costly though as Aluko’s goal midway through the second half, coming after a number of chances were blocked on the line, was enough. The former Hull man was in the right place to tap home from a yard out.
It was far from convincing for Fulham, but Slavisa Jokanovic was pleased just to get the job done, having squandered two previous chances to break into the top six.
“It is a great step for us towards where we want to be,” Jokanovic said.
“It was a very tough game. I am pleased because I have missed 1-0 wins. So to get the goal and then finish with a clean sheet is pleasing and it is important news for us.
“We tried to be focused on our job and thinking about what we can do. We weren’t thinking about Sheffield Wednesday, or about other teams. Our focus is on us in this crucial part of the competition and getting as many points as possible.”
On the Millers’ relegation, the Serb added: “Rotherham supporters can be very proud. They are going into League One but there will be lots of teams who lose points in this stadium next season.”
JOB DONE: Sone Aluko wheels away in celebration after scoring the goal that confirmed Rotherham’s relegation into League One