Millwall boss expresses his "dismay" at set-piece defending

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris couldn't hide his displeasure at his side's defending in the 3-2 defeat to Barnsley on Tuesday night.

The Lions lost their second home game in four days courtesy of Lewin Nyatanga’s stoppage-time winner on a brisk autumnal evening in south London.

And Harris said he has questioned the players' characters after a third consecutive defeat in all competitions at The Den.

“I can't repeat what I said to the players afterwards,” Harris said. "They know in no uncertain terms of my dismay at the defending.

“I said to the players, ‘who's taking responsibility on set-plays, who's reminding the players to keep the ball out of the net?’

“That’s a big thing for me, the leadership in defending. I’m disappointed at the three set-plays we conceded.

“Two of them were second-phase balls and one went straight into the goal. Conceding from set-plays hasn't been a common theme under my stewardship.”

Harris added: “What has been common, though, is that we've conceded goals this season and that’s the headache for me, that’s what I have to put right and for that I question the character of the players, that’s for sure.

“I don't think we got a foothold in the game after half-time, I think we can have a pattern to our play and a game plan but I'm not putting out a team of robots.

“They have to make decisions and think for themselves. I give them that responsibility to be able to do that. I didn't feel like we controlled the game at all at the start of the second half.

“The biggest thing is we had spells on top and when you score when you're having good spells, it’s great, but when you’re under the cosh a little bit you have to defend.

“I spoke to the players before the game and said if we have a five-minute spell where we aren't in control of the football match, under no circumstances does that ball end up in our goal.

“It happened twice – once in the first and once in the second half. What topped it off was the goal in injury-time. It’s criminal for a home team to defend like that from a set-play in injury-time.”

Fred Onyedinma had given Millwall a 27th-minute lead with his first goal for the club, and the 18-year-old attacker then equalised when he headed in Shane Ferguson’s corner eight minutes from time.

And Harris said that while it was hard to think positively after the defeat, Onyedinma’s performance and goals were the main highlights.

“I’m delighted for Fred. We all know what a talent he is and what we think he will turn into.

“He deserves his goals not just for the way he plays but also his attitude for the game.

“The performance was better than Saturday but Barnsley are a passing team so they're going to have more possession, the stats will probably show that.”

“Again, we've had chances and there were some good passages of play in both halves.

“We worked the ball into wide areas and put dangerous balls in the box, scored two very good goals and could have had a few more.

“The positives are there definitely but, other than young Fred, it’s difficult while it’s raw in my mind to be positive after the game when we've lost another one at home."

Jay Taylor


46 thoughts on “Millwall boss expresses his "dismay" at set-piece defending

  • August 19, 2015 at 02:27

    Firstly what a player we have in young Fred!! He looks leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the squad at the minute and we will do well to keep hold of him for the rest of the season.

    Secondly this long ball s*** has to stop... Playing at home and using hit and hope tactics nullifies our attacking threat and instantly puts our defence under pressure, we have to address that play book asap. Also our backbone has never looked so vulnerable TC is not the answer and personally I would rather see Beavers in his position on Saturday regardless of the captains armband. Sid played well today but needs to stay on his feet more.

    today's team selection made no sense to me, there was a couple of good changes and I'm happy jimmy is back in the side but what's the story with PCH?? Is he not liked.. Him and Fred seemed to work well the other night interchanging wings and I would like to see more of that.

    Finally does anyone know why Edwards has not been given a contract yet?? Another 90 mins under his belt yesterday for the U21 even at 50% fitness he's a better option than cummins who was atrocious tonight

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    • August 19, 2015 at 07:30

      @taz1987: Our best defender beavers on he's way to Bradford who mugged us off through the summer. For the coaching staff and management accepting no responsibilty for the performances does not sit well with me, we do not look properly coached and the "tactics" weve used against 3rd and 4th div teams are mind bogglingly unsophisticated !
      Giving up possession for large proportions of the matches we've played is asking for trouble, lump it up and it comes straight back most of the time. In almost 50 years of watching millwall this as low as it gets or at least equals it, pains me to say it but the management team look out of there depth.

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  • August 19, 2015 at 05:44

    Cant get my head around this start to the season, we seem as fragile as we were last term, and there winner came care of the Millwall captain giveing away an easy free kick in a dangerous area,the central midfeild was again weak and did not boss the oppoaition at home, plus points FRED jimming played well and imo Sid down well when introduced.
    Neil Harris really has taken on a posion chalice "crap squad and no money to better it"what happened to Tony Craig's batter cry of yesterday about "fighting for the shirt" I tell you what it was just ba*****ks there are too many players that are not even good enough for division 1 which is a very worrying situation & brings the possibility of the JB cashing in buy selling the ground for development.
    Sort it out a.s.a.p. and save the club and also bring back pride in us we cant have yet another season lie the last 3 PLEASE.

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    • August 19, 2015 at 06:23

      JB and millwall football club do not own the ground. We have a long lease (150 years) and the contract cannot be broken unless both parties agree (Lewisham council and millwall fc). That means JB cannot sell anything. We don't own any of the property, or the land that it sits on. If they want us to move, they have to pay us enough to fund the building of a new stadium. As for the free kick given away by craig. It was over 40 yards from goal. That's not a dangerous area. Any defence worth their salt should of dealt with it. It's the Most embarrassing set piece we have conceded from in recent memory.

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      • August 19, 2015 at 06:44

        To add to my point slightly, that's what winds me up about some millwall fans. Some accuse JB of wanting to 'cash in', and 'he's only in it for the development' etc, but yet they fail to find out the facts and figures before they spout all this rubbish. JB has thrown his money into an endless pit by funding our losses for years. He's stuck up for the club through all our fan issues. When we had the west ham trouble court case he paid through the nose to prove our innocence. He took the wembley incident quite well as many would of said enoughs enough and left us to get on with it after that. He also lost out on the development ages ago and is still here. He backed lomas and Holloway with decent budgets and is still paying Holloway off till this very day. My only issue with JB is I don't understand why he does it. Constantly year after year throwing money away. Surely it would make more sense to just spend big one season and have a right go at promotion? He's not perfect and I'm not having a pop at people for having an opinion, But at least assert yourselves with the facts before you all bad mouth a bloke thats been at the helm through some really good times at the club. He maybe naive and abit lacking on the football knowledge front, but I genuinely believe he cares. Lets face facts, he's not here to make money becuase we don't! And he's not exactly getting great publicity being associated with us is he.

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        • August 19, 2015 at 08:02

          @82wall: Thanks for putting me straight on the ownership of the land the ground stands on, but that would still not prevent some buy the lease or the free hold and applying for a change of use, I am and was not knocking JB but as anyone who has spent a lot of money on an investment and then find that it is not doing too well then you cut your losses.

          That is my point if we are a club (but really the team) cant put bums on seats then we cant buy the better player we need right now or when it comes to it employ a manager with the track record to take us on the league and then the divisions to where we should be.

          I am not knocking anyone just saying what I think most of us who attend games also think and I know say week in week out on here and in the pubs.

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          • August 19, 2015 at 08:12

            To be fair mate I do hear what your saying. But like you, I also go every week. Ive been every game so far and am not missing a home or away game until we play wigan away late September. But I don't agree that most supporters feel how you do. I think most people like JB and appreciate what we have with him becuase of what we've had before(de savery, burnige, till, purser and even theo and reg to some extent). People that think we are attractive to possible owners are in dreamland. And lewisham would not ever sell the lease or the freehold do you not reckon people have tried? Many a man before JB have had that discussion with lewisham council.

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        • August 19, 2015 at 11:00

          @82wall: A Chairman that stands up for his fans - whatever next. How some fans can't see through Berylson is beyond me. His appointments have been very poor, the regeneration debacle was very murky and we've become a club that pretty much only brings in free-transfers or loans. To be honest I became suspicious around the time he robbed us of our shares in the club. Even the failure to repair the screen, as petty as it seems, just sums up where this cub is heading. Maybe there are worse Chairman out there, but for God's sake surely we can do better than Berylson.

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          • August 19, 2015 at 11:07

            @Micky Lions:
            How some fans can think like you is beyond me! So i guess we will have to agree to disagree. You will see for yourself when he goes, how good to us he is/was. If you go down a bit Youll see why I think we can do a lot worse than JB.

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          • August 19, 2015 at 13:03

            @Micky Lions: 100% right

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