We're moving in the right direction, says Millwall boss Harris

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris feels his side need better execution in the attacking third if they are to break their league duck at The Den.

Harris was pleased with the effort of his players in the defeat to Southend on Saturday, but said the Lions wasted a number of good attacking positions.

Southend, by contrast, scored with their only two efforts on target through David Mooney and Adam Barrett.

The Millwall boss also felt it was two defensive lapses that cost his side.

Harris said: “The amount of balls we put in the box, yes it was good defending by a resolute side, but were we reactive or proactive (in reading where the ball was going)? In a lot of front players we were reactive.

“I could never see a danger of them scoring a goal, so to get done like we did for the first goal was very disappointing. It was poor defending, and the boys have held their hands up.

“The second one was from a set play and we don’t mark very well. That’s not us. That’s not what I expect from my team.

“I praise the boys when they do really well, they know that. And if they’re wrong I expect them to stand up and be counted and they’ve done that.

“It’s hard to be disappointed with the players. They’re frustrated, they want to win for the fans.”

Harris also admitted his side were not as sharp as they had been in recording two successive away league wins at Crewe and Port Vale, and says he has still to get the tactical blend right.

“Saturday showed we’re moving in the right direction, the fans supported the players, but we just lacked the quality," he explained.

“You can’t go direct all the time and you can’t make 15 passes all the time, we need a mix. We’ve got players who can play with the football and make passes, and we’ve got players with legs who can run.

“So it’s trying to put it together to make it happen. At times it worked and we got in good positions but we didn’t have the quality in those positions.

“Aiden O’Brien has been linking the play, Ed Upson has been linking the play, Shaun Williams has the passing range, but we didn’t quite gel. There were too many mis-placed passes, too many tired decisions on the ball.”

Harris named an unchanged team for the clash with Phil Brown's side but withdrew Upson and Mark Beevers, both of whom had been excellent at Vale Park, as well as Fred Onyedinma in the second half.

And afterwards he wondered if he should have altered his line-up for Millwall’s third game in seven days.

He said: “For a couple of young lads maybe it was just a game too far, legs-wise for them.

“I said at the start of the season that we won’t blame travelling in midweek to any away games for our performances.

“Should I have freshened it up? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We looked a little bit leggy and Southend had that freshness.

“But we do things in the right way. We recover in the right way, we give them time off at the right time, so did the midweek game take its toll?

“Well, we finished the game (on Saturday) attacking. Naturally as a team behind at home you end up on the front foot but I just thought we lacked that zip all over the park that we had previously.”

Harris also paid tribute to the supporters, who will have to wait until next Saturday at least for the visit of Rochdale for a first league win at home this season.

“I thought they were excellent,” he said. “They came to support their team. I think they saw the team trying to do everything that we want to achieve.

“They know it’s not a lack of effort. And we got into good positions… the amount of good crossing positions we got in but just lacked the final ball.”

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)

45 thoughts on “We're moving in the right direction, says Millwall boss Harris

  • September 21, 2015 at 10:19
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    Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of NH whether or not he will be successful as manager only time will tell but "moving in the right direction! if losing every home game and moving down the table is the right direction I'm a WH fan or maybe 59 home games without a point is where we're heading. Some time Neil, it's better to say nothing at all. After saying that I don't believe we'll be in a relegation battle come Christmas time but possibly will be come May :) only kidding.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 10:26
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    There is only the one derection we are going in ...towards the national league ......untill the yank goes.
    Two decent results ...one against the bottom club, do not make a promotion.
    Am I the only one who despairs at the nonsense pedalled about young kids having tired legs...unbelievable ....a few games in to the season....mo farah can win 5000 gold on a wednesday, 10,000 gold on a saturday and do a marathon on the way home ....all the tennis players do three or four hour shifts every other day...week in week out .....basket ball players and base ball players do about 90 games a season....rugby players a proper physical game maybe twice a week
    Dont insult us NH

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  • September 21, 2015 at 10:41
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    These sorts of comments are on par with the crap Hollowhead was coming out with. We have a young left sided NI International on the bench and we play TC at left back, who is very poor. Stop playing your mates and do what's best for the team.

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    • September 21, 2015 at 12:19
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      @beedoscores: he dropped Forde, I'm confident he will do the same with Craig. Tough as it may be to do, Tony can hardly justifiably argue he deserves his place in the team.

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      • September 21, 2015 at 21:52
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        @MFC Lion: Weather or no Craig is captain he need to play a left back at left back. Harris has got Joe Martin and Ferguson who can play there so play them. He's doing what Coco used to do, playing players out of position when he has them sitting on the bench.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 10:48
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    Losing at home(again) is not a step in the right direction, stop talking crap NH,

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  • September 21, 2015 at 10:53
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    Any news on Webster? That injury looked nasty.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 11:02
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    last home win when we scored the first goal, oct 13th cardiff 1-0 2015, almost a year , when the team score the first goal maybe that will be the turning point, but as you say stop talking up the b******* were watching bomber !!!!

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    • September 21, 2015 at 14:00
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      @TONY BLOCK28: My son was ball boy for that game, maybe i should write to the club and ask that they use him every week as he may be a good luck charm.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 11:30
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    What is it with all this "young kids" type comment over and over ? What age does that apply to ? I would have thought would just apply to teenagers. How many of them in the starting 11 ? Age is not the issue, quality of players and tactics are.

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    • September 21, 2015 at 14:19
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      @ketchup:
      Spot on mate, after all Coventry had two teenagers up front against us they tore us apart, age is not the issue.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:07
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    at 18 you can run about all day on the football pitch 3 days a week if you can't you're not training properly.
    I thought Fred done some good work on Saturday but a couple of times at least he wasn't alert enough hence got beaten to balls that should have been his by a mile.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:17
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    Well, unfortunately I tend to agree with NH on this one. After 2-3 years of really terrible displays the standards have become ridiculously low. Losing at home to a team in the relegation zone is now considered acceptable as long as we have few decent chances. That's an improvement considering the lack of shots on goal in past years... Winning, I'm afraid that is not the standard nowadays... We are now counting passes, tackles and crosses or as NH says 'The amount of balls we put in the box'.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:29
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    Sell if he actually believes what he is saying, then he is as deluded as IH, fact is you need to know how to win at home , in fairness his Managerial experience is limited enough for him to know, Difficult situation, we either give them even more time to learn on the job, accept poor results and hope to survive, alternatively they need to get someone of experience to help and guide.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:32
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    Apologies for typo's on pisting- Blooming phone

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:39
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    It those hooped socks IMO, can anyone name a successful team that wore hooped socks? It does not matter what 'stats' are produced, the only stats that matter are southend 2 shots/headers = 2 goals and a win.........

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:42
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    Bloody moaners on here. If you saw or listened to the game against Port Vale you would know that we are moving forwards. No surprise that we are inconsistent. We are going to hammer someone at home soon but at least the away performances are showing that we are making progress.

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    • September 21, 2015 at 13:11
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      @roders: Agree went to Crewe and Port Vale played some good football especially against Port Vale could not get down for the Southend game so can't really say to much about that but I agree with you

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  • September 21, 2015 at 12:50
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    So Holloway now has 2 jobs.............
    One working for Sky, the other is ghostwriting the NH post match analysis.

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    • September 21, 2015 at 13:17
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      @crow191049: it would seem so...come on harris you came into the job speaking quite frank and open..now your starting to talk complete b*******...
      You cant play a away system at home and hope to grab a win..play a 442 at home pch & fred as wingers and then watch the oppo wilt trying to chase those two..

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      • September 21, 2015 at 14:02
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        @Jim28: no point in playing wingers that cross if no f***** is going to head it in, that's why we needed plan B with a taller player up front, get in the loan market for a decent header of the ball

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  • September 21, 2015 at 13:30
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    I cannot beleive that NH made this quote, "Moving in the right direction".
    This is just rubbish journalism to get our backs up!

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  • September 21, 2015 at 13:42
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    Neil you ain't got a clue were moving in the right direction have we won at home this season, sorry if a win against Peterborough don't get me motivated but we all no were sh*t at home so stop feeding up bullsh*t Neil I hope it don't go wrong for you but I'm afraid it's gonna who have been your managin influences holloway sacked lomAs sacked jackett had enough ran out of ideas, you have a cheek to say we're moving In right direction yeah we are downward spiral

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  • September 21, 2015 at 14:16
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    "Hindsight is a wonderful thing".
    I was hoping that sentence left the Den when
    the Clown got tossed into the skip.

    I am starting to think Hollowhead is still hear
    and has grown some hair.
    Lordy, Lordy, please let this get better and put some smiles
    back on our faces down the Den.
    I for one, am getting p***** off throwing my money away
    at home games.

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    • September 21, 2015 at 14:18
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      @lowdown:
      Should be 'here', of course.
      Not that is going to win us any home games...lol..

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  • September 21, 2015 at 14:53
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    This forum is just full of moaners, for those of you who didn't go on Saturday, we actually didn't play that bad. Yes we looked tired up front in the second half BUT the performance was OK!

    Tell you what, shall we get rid of Harris, get another manager in and when we lose a home game under them, sack them too? It's now 4 managers who have struggled to pick up results at The Den AND I for one am prepared to give Harris the entire season and next summer to get it right. This team is a work in progress, we'll have some good results and some poor ones this year and that will continue right the way through IMO. Mid table this year and go again and look to go up next season is the plan, I'm sure of it.

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    • September 21, 2015 at 15:03
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      @spj91: Agreed mate, this site is full of people who just want to moan! I guarantee if we had lost to Port Vale but beaten Southend there would be a lot less moaning. It is frustrating having the poor home form and I can no wait to see us win next week but we need to stop moaning. And those calling for Harris to walk should be ashamed of themselves!!

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    • September 25, 2015 at 12:10
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      @spj91: This why I stopped coming on here, simple answer if you don't like don't go, we need SUPPORTERS.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 14:55
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    We need a speedy, physical big lump up front, we need a midfield general, we need a f...k...g miracle.
    As it goes no ifs or buts we keep saying it will all improve - the way it is going it's relegation not being a defeatist but the stats do not lie. Yep our away record fine but that is not going to last and home record well there is not one. I said many moons ago we are playing seasoned pros in this league and its the same for Div2 and National. Playing in the championship is a different skill level and hence we are neither up nor down. All our money earned mainly by KJs wheeling and dealing has been squandered there ain't no more in the kitty. Dire straits it is and everybody must wake up to the fact.
    Bl..dy hell this is depressing nuff said. Put your mortgage on Rochdale Sat cert away banker.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 15:29
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    Right looks like two changes to next game against Rochdale.

    Bryron Webster to replace Sid Nelson and Tony Craig to Replace Joe Martin

    it should be 4-3-3 formation stick to that plan NH

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  • September 21, 2015 at 16:06
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    We did play some good football against SEU but we got bullied and I think the illegal tackles that came from behind which the ref let them get away with, some how contributed to that.
    We were a bit poor in some areas ie a lot of stray passes players not alert or aware of what was going on at times therefor wasn't ready to collect balls that rightfully were theirs, enabling the opposition to nip in and nick the ball.
    I still have faith in the team and the manager.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 16:16
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    No1 wants this to end bad for Neil but when he's saying we're moving In the right direction yeah we are to another season of not winning at home it ain't down to the fans getting on the players back we as millwall fans expect us to be tough to beat at home over the last 4 seasons how many home games have u been thinking yep 3 points today we go a goal down and no what the outcome is gonna be. So us being a laughing stock at home is moving in the right direction. Win 5 home games on the trot then say we are.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 16:29
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    Definitely wasn't the smartest thing to say and as I said before some it's best to say nothing at all but managers probably feel compelled to say something and try to think of something encouraging to say even when, as on Saturday, encouraging words would be hard to find after a poor display and another home defeat.
    I don't think it would be wise to publicly debase the players on NAD best save that for the dressing room.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 16:36
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    We played a lot better in the last 15 mins when there was nothing to lose I would not have taken beavers off to shovel the team about it should have been Craig and put the ni international there Fred should have come off earlier with PCH taking his place and for Morrison to have a go at him because of his bad pass is not on I would also like to add we should have got Hanson from Bradford City.does any one know what Nicky Bailey is up to that the sort of player we need right now to drive us on.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 16:50
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    Following on from my previous post, taking the home form out of this a minute, we have the best (joint with Walsall) away record in the division. That to me does show signs of improvement as we're hard to breakdown and hit teams on the counter.

    Maybe, just maybe if when the players are having a bad game or misplace a pass instead of booing at them and slagging them off, you try and get behind them!

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  • September 21, 2015 at 18:16
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    Moving in the right direction after losing to a bottom 4 side without their best striker!!!!

    Very worrying words.

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  • September 21, 2015 at 18:22
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    We need 2 get a decent CAM I said at the start of the season 2 get Sawyers from Walsall and we need 2 get a better ST greggs ain't up 4 it and marques should have gone 2 Gillingham I don't rate him now or be4 so when January comes along sort it out neil 4 now get a coupleof loans In COYL

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  • September 21, 2015 at 23:02
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    Legend of the club or not you are deluded if you think we are headed in the right direction. There are some good signs but nothing more than should be expected as our younger players are getting more experience. Having said that it is my opinion that Neil is not the right man for the job. He was a great player and club servant but there is absolutely no evidence that he has the making of a good, let alone great manager. It grieves me to say this knowing the status he has at our club.

    Many thought that when he came on in a coaching role he would get us finding the net and yet over successive seasons we have failed drastically in that department. Now as manager he appear unable to steer and nurture the talent we have. He also persist in sticking to failed endeavours, Gregory as an example, who promised so much and returned so little.

    If mediocrity is what our club wants then stick with Neil (no I am no a Neil hater) but a better way forward is to find an experienced manager who can develop the latent talent that we have at the club,

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    • September 21, 2015 at 23:56
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      @lefonque:
      1- there maybe no evidence he has what it takes to become a great manager, but our previous manager had promotions on his CV, the one before that did well in his previous job. Who do you want? What do you seriously expect? Every manager who is any good had to start somewhere.

      2- NH was never hired as a coach to train our strikers? You've just assumed because he was a striker, and was hired as a coach, that he has been coaching the first team strikers. He hasn't and never has. FACT. He was the manager of the u21s/development squad. So your comment does not make sense.

      3- you say "now as manager he appears unable to nurture the talent we have". As I said before, he was the u21/development manager, which means that the reason certain players (Ben thompson, jack Powell, sid nelson, aiden obrien, Fred Onyedinma, Kris twardek, Jamie philpot) have improved as players, and have made the first team in recent times, is down to the fact they were correctly nurtured and coached by NEIL HARRIS. So your saying he isnt nurturing the players, when he's already responsible for nurturing them!

      4- you say he has stuck with certain players and used gregory as the example. Well..... Gregory hasn't started any of the last 4 games. So that's wrong aswell.

      5- you say bring in a manager who can develop the talent we have. Ok, so you want to replace a manager who has spent 4 years building a bond/relationship with his u21 team, this early on in his managerial career, when he's just starting to bring those players through? Harris has built up a trust and the players put in a shift for him. How about we give our current manager, a club legend, longer than 5 minutes to bring through the talent he's already helped bring this far, and show abit of patience and realism?

      6- think before you spout crap.

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      • September 22, 2015 at 15:52
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        @82wall: time will tell, this is one point where I will be more than happy to be proven wrong.

        You ask me who I would choose, well at this moment it would not be Neil. I agree wholeheartedly that our previous manager was not up to the job. That should have been clear to the board prior to his appointment going on his previous performance.

        I ask myself would we give the same latitude to a manager who was not a club legend?

        As for Gregory he still manages to get on the pitch and in my opinion he is not up to the job. In the industry he is what is known as a list clogger who blocks the pathway of someone else getting opportunity. He is not alone on that front. But I don't see it as all doom and gloom.

        I think some of Neil's comments like we are heading in the right direction are naive at best and more worthy of the type of spin that we got from his predecessor. You are also correct in saying that Neil joined as the coach of the u/21 but also to help with our goal scoring as comment on by Holloway during his time in the position.

        All in all you may think my comment were crap but like all of us on here we are entitled to have an opinion and in light of our current position on the ladder, the performances overall this season, the goals for and against and finally our dismal home record I think I have more than enough justification to question Neil's suitability for the position.

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  • September 22, 2015 at 10:17
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    They had a caveman we didn't we need a bit more bite or club ;) in midfield Jimmy makes his presence felt does a good job but we need someone a bit more physical just to install a bit of apprehension into the opposition, gives them something to think about and stops playing as fluently as they otherwise might.

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