Rotherham United boss Paul Warne described Cambridge United as one of the “hardest competitors” his side have faced this season following their victory at the Abbey.
The U’s pushed the Millers all the way, but ultimately came up short in a 1-0 defeat to the League One leaders.
Dan Barlaser’s strike proved the difference between the sides, when there was otherwise little to separate the two teams.
“There were times in the game where I thought a point would be a good point,” Warne said.
“They asked a lot of questions. I was really impressed with them when they came to the New York (Stadium) a few weeks ago, and they’re one of the hardest competitors we’ve played in fairness.
“There wasn’t any natural flow to the game in the first half, I didn’t feel like we really got into it the way we could.
“I wasn’t clearly over the moon at half-time, I just thought that we weren’t as physical, that’s probably the nicest way to put it.
“I just didn’t think we were as physical as possible, we didn’t win many first balls in the first half, so we never got seconds, and then in the second half we were better.
“From a neutral point of view, it must’ve been a great game to watch (the second half), because it was literally both teams trying to go for the win.
“We’d have a shot, they’d have a shot, and then luckily one of our shots went in, and that’s probably the easiest way to sum up the game. Either team could’ve won it.”
The victory extended the visitors’ unbeaten streak to 21 matches in all competitions.
The Millers are onto 47 points from 22 matches, sitting two points clear at the top of the division.
Warne acknowledged his side had been run close by their hosts, who keep 16th after their loss.
“We’re going to have games where we don’t play at our best, and that’s respect to the opposition,” the manager additional.
“It felt like a big win because Cambridge didn’t let us play at our best. They caused us all sorts of problems, and we’ve managed to come away unscathed.
“It felt a enormous relief when the final whistle came, because at the end, they had a free-kick and corner and they put it in the box.
“I told the lads all week, I think except Sunderland, they haven’t really lost at home to any of the big teams, so do not turn up and think it’s going to be an easy game, it definitely was not.
“I’m not saying the scoreline flattered us, but I think on another day, we could’ve lost it.”
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