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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