NEIL Harris wants his players to show more composure on the ball and forget about the expectations of supporters, particularly at The Den.
Millwall constructed some intricate attacking moves early in the first half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Crewe to create a number of chances, but were less cohesive in attack after the break.
Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt denied Aiden O'Brien, Lee Gregory and Steve Morison with smart stops in the opening 45 minutes, and the Railwaymen punished Harris’ faltering side with just under an hour gone when Brad Inman scored from the penalty spot. Lee Gregory equalised just five minutes later with a penalty of his own, but couldn’t achieve the same outcome two minutes from time when his effort from 12 yards struck the bottom of the post.
Harris was satisfied with the way his side recovered from after Inman's strike, but was disappointed not to come from a goal down to win for the second successive week.
“I’m frustrated because obviously you get a penalty with a couple of minutes to go and you really fancy that the boy, having scored one already, is going to put it into the net and we come from behind to win another game,” the Millwall boss said.
“So I’m disappointed, but it could turn out to be a good point gained.
“I think when you get into that top six and you’re playing against a team at the foot of the table, the fanbase expect you’re going to roll them over. But it doesn’t quite materialise like that.
“If I’m being honest I’m more disappointed we weren’t ahead at half-time after the three good chances we had before the break, and with the quality we’ve got I’d have expected us to take them.
“But, again, no lack of effort or passion from the boys, just (lacked) a little bit of quality at the key moments.
“I think the players can still relax a little bit more with the ball. Yes, they’re playing for the supporters but the only person they need to impress is me. I’ve reiterated that a thousand times, they’ve got to be composed and enjoy playing.
“They have to realise that nil-nil at half-time or after 60 minutes isn’t a bad thing. If you try to build momentum and do what you’re good at and get balls into the box, the openings will come.
“I just thought we lost our way at times in the second half. In the first half we put a lot of good balls into the box and put Crewe under a lot of pressure. But in the second half we just didn’t have that quality in the final third.”