Millwall's Harris: We're prepared to work because I hate losing

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MANAGER Neil Harris says there is a “buzz” back in the squad after Millwall’s recent run of improved form.

The Lions’ 2-0 defeat of Northampton on Tuesday night was their fifth win in eight games since the last international break.

Prior to that run just one win in six left Harris feeling like they were going “downhill”, but now he has the chance over the current break to work with the squad and build on the progress of the last six weeks.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he admitted. “That’s three wins in four at home and arguably the most dominant display was the one we lost (2-0 against Southend). We’ve got Swindon here next who will be another possession team, and it’ll be a matter of patience again for us but we’ve got a lot to work on in the meantime.

“The players know that, I know that, and they’re prepared to work hard.

“I’m delighted with my players, we wanted to get through. And we wanted to get through because I hate losing. I want to win every game, I want to win here.

“We had a bad start and we were going downhill fast, but we’re taking the steps to rebuild. We’re enjoying it and there was a little buzz coming to the game (Tuesday), the boys were looking forward to it again.

“That’s really key, especially when you’re playing at home, and especially for a club like this.”

Harris has frequently spoken about the need for his players to be patient when the opposition has the ball at The Den and he said he never felt uneasy when Northampton became the latest side to adopt the same strategy in the hope of stirring disquiet in the home support.

He said: “I’m not nervous when teams come to play total football in their own half to try and frustrate our crowd.

“The game’s changed. Fifteen years ago here you could press the ball, press the ball. Nowadays you can’t. Teams are happy to overload areas.

“We saw another team that came here to play possession against us. And they did, but they didn’t hurt us.

“As much as teams want to go sideways and backwards against us it’s what you do with the ball in the final third that’s important and we should have been 3-0 up at half-time.

“I told the boys at half-time to relax. We adjusted slightly to be a little more aggressive on the press. We explained to the players how to do that and I thought in the second half we pushed on and saw how important it is to get the first goal to settle everybody down.

“I thought their goalkeeper was outstanding to keep the score to 2-0.”

Harris made six changes, three of which were enforced, to the side that had lost to Peterborough last weekend and took the opportunity to rest Carlos Edwards, Byron Webster and Fred Onyedinma.

That meant chances for Jack Powell and Lee Martin, but both players were withdrawn in the second half with the game still scoreless.

Harris felt the difficulty they had in imposing themselves on the game was down partly to an over-eagerness to make a positive impact.

“Sometimes you try too hard as a player,” he explained. “Especially as a young player. You want to impress so much when your chance comes along and I think we saw that at times with a few players who have been striving for the opportunity to play.

“A few got the opportunity and their character and attitude was brilliant, their work rate phenomenal, but sometimes you have to not get caught up in the moment and just try and play your natural game.

“I felt a couple of the players didn’t do that for some periods.”

Onyedinma was one of those to come on and he made an immediate difference. Within 10 minutes he was carrying the ball directly at the Northampton defence causing them to swiftly backpedal before Aiden O’Brien found space on the edge of the box to sweep in the opening goal.

The 18-year-old attacker had also shown against Wigan how effective a threat he can be when introduced and it’s another arrow in the quiver of his rapidly developing game.

Harris said: “He’s great. He did really well when he started, and he’s done really well when he’s come off the bench. He’s a young kid who’s really raw, really fast and wants to get down the line and do things, and he’ll get it wrong sometimes.

“It’s just getting that balance of when to play him, when to bring him off the bench, and that’s the same with some of my players. I think that’s more in the front four positions: the strikers and the wide players.

“I’ve got some good players and it’s about getting that mix and telling them you can’t play every game but you can affect the game every time you play.

“We’ll see (about potential signings). I like to use my own players, preferably. If I need to bring anyone in at any stage of the season that makes us a better squad and a better team then I won’t hesitate.

“I have time now to reflect on the players we’ve got and we’ll be assessing the performances over the next few days. Let’s just wait and see.”

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)

20 thoughts on “Millwall's Harris: We're prepared to work because I hate losing

  • October 8, 2015 at 14:35
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    Teams playing their total football sometimes 'sort of' hurt us don't they? We got mullered by the first 4 teams who came here with their total football, - made our game look like we were from the land that time forgot. Good to get the winning habit back at home though even if it was only Rochdale and 2 JPT games. COYL!

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  • October 8, 2015 at 14:38
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    Not to sure that we need much, losing Jimmy and Upson is a very big blow. We seem a much better team with Abdou in the squad and he has found a new string to his bow not only scoring goals getting into the box more. On the evidence of Tuesday, Saville looks a slot in replacement I have to say I would do everything to get him for at least the season. If it only takes two injuries and suspensions at awkward times to give us a problem I think the young lad would be an addition that would definitely strengthen not just the squad but the first team whoever is available. From the back Archer has made the red shirt his own despite the five goals away last time the difference in defence with Carlos playing is unbelievable as is his fitness, Joe Martin looked OK as did Cummings come to that Beevers and Webster are looking good now in this system and the youngster are staring to show as well. Small point here young Jack Powell had a poor game Tuesday, no doubt, but exactly as Neil said he was trying to hard, he will come good, again no doubt, but can the morons who barracked him every time he made a mistake remember he is young , one of our own, and doing that will destroy any confidence he will have and make him double anxious next time. Rant over. Forwards look like scoring now O'Brien will be, if not already, something special some of his goals in the last few weeks have been quite simply brilliant. Morrison too, should be on ten goals if he had not come across goal keepers who always seem to have MOM performances against us.
    I genuinely believe we are peaking our heads around the corner with just a small push we could turn it very soon.

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  • October 8, 2015 at 16:38
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    We are doing OK right now cos a couple of wins and we're top six. However I'm sill not convinced about the defence. More clean sheets are needed if we are to be taken seriously in this league. Beevers is the best CB at this club and thats saying something. He needs a decent partner with him. Sorry but TC, Webster and Sid are not the answer. We have never replaced the 'Hoo' and this needs to be adressed. A season loan would be ideal cos one or two (as Bomber has said) can go out on loan to balance the books.
    I'd like to see another forward at the club to keep Morro and AOB on their toes too. JM and Greggs are not cutting the mustard and they too could benefit with a loan stint at another club.

    Beating Swindon is essential to get momentum back in our league home form.
    COYL

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  • October 8, 2015 at 16:43
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    Neil - this is not good enough

    We’ll see (about potential signings). I like to use my own players, preferably. If I need to bring anyone in at any stage of the season that makes us a better squad and a better team then I won’t hesitate. (which you contradict later)

    I mean, really? We have a very capable squad if you are content with being mid-table. It is plain stupid to think this squad will get us promotion.

    'If'' we need someone to make us better - is this a joke?? If Man City need new players, then I am sure we do. Why are the comments from our managers so stupid so consistently. Why not say- '' we are always looking for better players - it is just a case of who we can afford''. Let's put it this way- where would we be without Saville - what if he gets injured?

    “We’ll see (about potential signings). I like to use my own players, preferably'' - what a load of b*****. So if you were offered a Premiership striker, you would say - oh no , I like to use my own players (whatever that means).

    Don't insult us Neil if you do not realise how limited we are, then we are going nowhere - more likely is that you do realise what huge limitations we have and don't want to say anything to raise expectations - which is insulting.

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    • October 8, 2015 at 17:01
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      @timchimes:

      I'm sorry but this post is absolutely ridiculous.

      In case you forgot, we were offered a Premier League striker last year, Gary Taylor-Fletcher who was absolutely dreadful. These clubs who are looking to loan out players are looking to get rid of the crap they don't want any more, good players don't just become available throughout the season!

      Oh and if Harris was coming out saying we are going to bring in top quality signings and they would fire us to promotion and then didn't everyone would have an outrage.

      We are Millwall, we don't the best squad and we don't have the funds to spend like other clubs, so we have to work with what we bloody well can! The quicker people accept that getting in the top 6 would be an incredible achievement in Harris' first full season in charge and with this squad the better.

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      • October 8, 2015 at 18:00
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        @spj91: totally agree spj we have to live and play within our means. I for one would take O'Brien over any journeyman Prem striker, I would also take Morrison over any young loan player who thinks he is Billy Bigboots and to good to play for us such as we have had in the past, Chris Wood anybody, ripped it us with us went to Leicester for a decent wage and is now where? along with that statement I think Steve's attitude this time around is spot on and is as good a striker as anybody in this league. Not to say if we are offered someone special, Harry Kane anybody, we would not take him but be fair if we can only attract a little over two thousand to a game which only cost me a fiver, is not exactly exciting to a young player, I do hope that all those saying we must invest went to the game and support the club financially as well as vocally. I also have an issue with all this MUST get promotion, I would rather see us win in league one than hammered in the Championship or even the Prem and if having a couple of good seasons in league one whilst we bring on our own youngsters so be it. If we can show that our Academy works, like a Southampton, and we give youth a chance we can set a foundation for the club that will see us much better off than trying to satisfy the constant scream for instant success. In NH and the new scouting team along with JB and AA I think the penny has dropped that we must invest in OUR lads not overpaid, under performing, don't care players and I for one say long may that continue.

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      • October 8, 2015 at 21:10
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        @spj91:
        you live in fantasy land - you have a short memory - we just let in 5 against peterboro

        GTF was never a prem player when he came to us - that is why he came - plus he was playing in the championship which is a million miles stronger than this rubbish we are playing in

        my point is simple - if we do not strengthen our squad we go nowhere - this is true of every team - if we cant afford it , then say so, but I am sick of the constant bigging up of players who are at best average. What makes you think any of our better players will stay with us if we stay down. Most are on short contracts and will be snapped up - what then? build again from the kids who then leave? - a never ending cycle of mediocrity . Either we recruit well and supplement this squad or we waste the little talent that we have . Either show some ambition and intelligence in building the club up or don't bother (but at least be honest if we aint gonna do that)

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      • October 8, 2015 at 21:16
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        @82wall:

        read what properly??????? if I think I need to bring someone in I wont hesitate - do you mean that bit ?? well why he doesn't realise the time is now and has been since the start of the season - we have got 3 or 4 decent players and the rest are average - look at the league table - look at the results - look at the play on the pitch - average -

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        • October 9, 2015 at 08:10
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          @timchimes: I get that you would want better players, but you can't bring in too many too quick, thats what f*cked us the other year. Just look what it did to QPR when they got into the Prem, too many new players isn't always good.

          NH isn't happy with finishing mid table every year. But this is our first year after a shocking campaign last year. We need to to reconcile, and get the winning mentality back a bit and not go into free fall. Thats why sitting mid table pushing for play-offs is a good position currently. From there we push on and start thinking about promotion. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that, and neither will a Millwall team that can go straight back up.

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  • October 8, 2015 at 18:09
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    Guy Moussi should be a replacement to Jimmy Abdou,

    since we got George Saville

    NH has to go get the loan then see how it goes next

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  • October 8, 2015 at 18:29
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    What did bomber tell us at the start of the season we are FIGHTING FOR PROMOTION that what he said I do think we will go up but if we do we need 2 invest in decent players im am not saying we don't have decent players we have got a couple in this team but we won't survive in the championship with this team so JB AA invest January get better players I say atleast 5 will do and let get out of this league and where we belong we have the most loyal fans in the country so come on wall we are all behind u COYL NOLU WDCARE MILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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  • October 8, 2015 at 19:44
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    Sorry Neil can't agree with line 2 paragraph 2 most dominant etc I didn't think we were at all dominant against Southend I thought we got bullied out of that match.
    They were much more tenacious than our boyson the day.

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  • October 8, 2015 at 22:13
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    Some good post, some bull, some mixed with both, why can't we watch our wall and treated as a pleasure anymore, so far from where I am I can see growth, we have stopped the rot, manager and players growing it's not going belly up there doing well so get off there backs, couple of loans finish top half then this is a successful season for all

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    • October 8, 2015 at 23:47
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      @mewall62: Spot on mate,the rot has been stopped and we have a millwall legend in charge,who does not have any money to spend,yet his every word is being dissected,as you say let's get off their back's.
      Your's is the best post for a long time and i am with you all the way on this one.

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      • October 9, 2015 at 00:15
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        @jim1222: so teams come and play total football..rochdale southend northampton ..come on barca they are not ffs

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        • October 9, 2015 at 09:52
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          @Jim28: Hello Jim,
          I know we are not in the same league as Barca but we are getting there ,maybe,not in our life time,but the situation is NH is going in the right direction and although he is getting it wrong with some of the thing's he say's he still has a lot to learn,if we take the Coventry and Southend game's,IMO Mowbray and Phil brown did a job on NH by using their experience to set their team's up to show up NH inexperience,but since then the team have got it together and NH is learning fast,so all i am saying is let's not be over critical of NH because as i say he is going in the right direction.
          All the best
          Powder Puff One

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  • October 9, 2015 at 10:28
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    Sounds like Neil's changed his tune on several occasions now & we didn't dominate against Southend, their keeper made 2 good saves to prevent 2 possible goals, they scored with 2 virtually free headers.
    Now after telling us he was gonna bring the youngsters through soon as they get a chance he nows says he won't hesitate in bringing loans in. Our immediate problem is our defence not the midfield, we've just let 5 in against pboro & they looked awful when we played them a few weeks back.

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