Millwall boss "proud" after extending unbeaten run

MILLWALL manager Neil Harris said he is "proud" of his players after his side took their unbeaten run to 11 after victory against Southend United.

Fred Onyedinma scored the only goal of the game from Shaun Cummings' cross after Will Atkinson had been sent off as the Lions leapfrogged their opponents into sixth place.

Harris felt his side did well to combat the Shrimpers' attack and hailed Onyedinma’s performance after the 20-year old started up front.

“We are really proud to be 11 games unbeaten,” Harris explained. “What we have done today is go above a really good side and we want to build momentum and keep ourselves in the play-off hunt.

“I’m really pleased with the clean sheet. I love scoring goals, I love my team scoring goals, but I like clean sheets.

"As a manager I've gone to the other side a little bit where I love when the boys get clean sheets.

“I thought it was a little bit ragged at times, as a unit and defensively but we stood strong right at the end which was really key.

“Southend are a really good side, we watched their last few games. I thought they were excellent with 10 men.

“They are a big strong physical team, a team of men. They haven't got much youth in their side other than their goalkeeper.

“We knew it would be physical and they would be up for the challenge of coming to The Den.”

Harris added: “I thought we were excellent for the first 40 minutes when it was 11 v 11. We played with flair and pace, we created chances. And then the sending off came and it didn't galvanise us, we didn't use the ball wisely enough.

“We got a little frustrated at times, so when the moment was needed for a clinical head – literally – I'm delighted that Shaun put in a great ball, he showed his quality, and Fred was on hand to put it in the net.”

“Fred is a young man that’s spent most of his short career so far playing in a wide area, but he has the ability to play off the front.

“He was excellent against Coventry for 25 minutes so I decided to start him higher up as I thought he could unsettle their centre-halves.

“For the first half hour I thought at times he was almost unplayable. Fred is raw, he has pace, power and he is a good finisher in training and he should certainly score more goals than he has so far.

“With Fred, Aiden (O’Brien) and with Jed Wallace in the starting XI and without Lee Gregory, we had the opportunity to rotate those players. All three can play up front and all three can play on either wing.

“It’s a real weapon in my armory to rotate them and the goal comes from me changing Aiden and Fred over just beforehand.”

The Lions go into Tuesday night’s fixture against Port Vale looking to make it 12 games without defeat and Harris feels momentum is key heading into a key league phase and a last-16 FA Cup clash with reigning Premier League champions Leicester City.

And Harris has reiterated that the mood in the camp is high after the upturn in form.

“Tuesday night is the most important game of the season. Saturday will be the most important of the season on Wednesday. The next game is always the most important game – we focus on one game at a time.

“Momentum is key in football, at any stage of the season, but once you get past January you want to be on an upwards curve – and we are.

“Everyone wants to play and everyone wants to be involved and be given the opportunity to be a part of a winning team. There is a feel-good factor here."

Jay Taylor

(@jay_taylor18)