IAN Holloway was proud of ten-man Millwall's battling performance against Reading and believes his new-look team has given Lions fans renewed hope for the rest of the season.
Despite losing Sid Nelson to a red card on the stroke of half time, Millwall, who were marshalled superbly by debutant Jos Hooiveld, withstood heavy pressure from the Royals in the second period.
Six new signings – including lively duo Diego Fabbrini and Paris Cowan-Hall – were on show and the home fans applauded their team off the field after a resilient display.
And Holloway said: "I want to thank the fans.
"Last night they all saw the fight that they deserve to see from their team. They've seen some new players who I believe they're going to really like.
"Last year we drew four games and won four to stay up. We've got 19 games left and we've got to keep showing this spirit.
"The players got a standing ovation because that was a fighting Millwall performance.
"We lacked a bit of quality here and there but that's because the new players don't know each other yet. We rolled it out too much and we didn't hit the right ball but the players feel great about themselves.
"Hopefully the fans have gone home with some renewed hope and that it's not all doom and gloom."
Nelson was giving his marching orders after clattering into Michael Hector.
"It's a shocking red card," said Holloway. "Having watched it again, it looked far worse than it was. But Sid will learn a huge lesson because you can't win everything.
"The whistle had gone, he was a split-second late, their bloke has toed it past him but I don't think there was any malice there.
"I don't think the players around [the referee] helped and their reaction. It was a slippery night but Sid will learn that sometimes he can drop off.
"He'll get there and I love him to bits. His commitment is fantastic and he didn't deserve that."