Harris questions Millwall players' intensity after 3-0 defeat

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris hinted after Saturday’s defeat to Gillingham he wasn’t happy with the levels of intensity the squad brought to training last week.

The Gills looked much sharper than Millwall at The Den in their 3-0 win, going 2-0 up inside 28 minutes and adding a third a minute from time.

And Harris returned to the same theme a couple of times during his post-match briefing, stressing he expects a similar effort to what he gave when he was a player.

“I was clear with the players,” he said. “I’m really fond of my players, I think they are a great group of lads.

“But I said to them: When you’re preparing for games, when you’re training, you must enjoy it.

“But you can enjoy training with a real intensity to it, and I said to the players if they can’t flick a switch between being laid back and relaxed, and then serious enough when it matters, then you have to be serious all the time.

“And, for me, as a player, I wanted to win everything. I was serious, every session, because that was my character. I said to the players I questioned their mentality after the Wycombe game and if you’re making the same errors more than once then is it mentality, is it character?

“At this football club you have to have a winning mentality and you have to have a character that’s really strong. That’s the squad and the team I want.”

Bradley Dack was Millwall’s chief tormentor at the weekend. He scored the penalty to put Justin Edinburgh’s side two goals ahead and he also carved the home side open a number of times as he was given too much space in which to operate in midfield.

Harris admitted his team were “all over the place” in that crucial opening period of the game when Jordan Archer was sent off and Ed Upson substituted with David Forde coming on.

The Millwall boss said, however, that ragged first half hour was more to do with a general disorganisation than the Gills midfielder dominating the game.

“I think he’s a good player, that’s clear to see,” Harris said. “His stats speak for themselves this season. I don’t think it was a question of us stopping Bradley Dack, it was a question of us defending better.

“When you’ve got experienced players – and we’d a very experienced back four (Saturday) – then it becomes about communication and positional play, and in the first 10 or 20 minutes it was all over the place.”

John Kelly