Millwall squad had words after Shrimpers loss

TONY Craig revealed there were “words said” in the Millwall dressing room after the 3-1 defeat at Southend on Saturday.

The result saw Millwall drop out of the top six in League One, and Craig said it provoked a discussion behind closed doors before the squad departed on the coach back to London.

“There were some words said there between us all,” Craig admitted. “But we’re a team who can certainly take it on the chin, if there are some people who are not happy with their performances or they want to put their opinion across we all listen to each other, which is a good thing.

“There have been some words said, but we have to dust ourselves down, come in (this week) and work again.

“The gaffer is very open here, as are the whole coaching staff and the players as well. It’s a good feeling if you can speak about what your opinions are. We don’t agree on everything but that’s part and parcel of everyday life.”

Southend hadn’t won at home in the League since March, but were clearly energised by the presence of Millwall, whom Shrimpers boss Phil Brown ironically referred to as “our nearest and dearest rivals” in the club’s match programme.

And Craig feels teams raising their game against Millwall is something they have to get used to in League One this season.

He said: “It was obviously a very, very disappointing result. To give Southend their due they played the conditions a lot better than us. They fully deserved the three points and we’ve got to dust ourselves down, see what happened (Saturday) and then go from there.

“Maybe we’re a bit of a scalp in this league after last season, teams are going to pick up five, 10, 15 per cent more, but we’ve got to be ready for that. It’s not just Southend. As a team and as a unit we’ve got to put in better performances.

“You’ve got to give Southend full credit, they played very well. It wasn’t easy conditions, and I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but there were some strong winds out there and they certainly used it better than us.”

Brown’s side also put pressure on Joe Martin, who had been booked four times already this season. Neil Harris decided to take off Martin and bring on Lee Gregory five minutes before the break with the defender on a yellow card for a late foul on Jermaine McGlashan and lucky not to see another when he brought down Mooney.

Craig defended Martin after Saturday’s defeat, and he admitted the Lions face a “big game” against Rochdale at The Den next weekend as they look for a first win in four in the league.

“Joe’s a full-hearted, committed player and obviously the gaffer made a decision and we had to re-shape,” Craig said. “It was good to get Gregs out there and get some minutes under his belt because he’s been out for a good few weeks.

“We’ve got great team spirit there, but obviously it’s a bit damaged at the moment. We’re a team that come in and look at the bits and bobs (that need improving) and we concentrate on that and hopefully rectify it on Saturday.

“It certainly isn’t crisis time. I’ve been at this club many, many years and unfortunately we’re a club that don’t start very brightly. But we’ve had a better start than some years.

“There’s a long way to go, it’s certainly not a crisis. We’ve got great lads in there, great team spirit. We’re a team that bounces back and we’ll be up for that one. I’m not saying we weren’t up for (Southend) but we’ve got to move on and it’s a big game for us on Saturday.”

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly