Harris: Millwall didn't hit heights of previous games

NEIL Harris said Millwall “gifted” Bolton Wanderers two goals as he saw his side’s five-game winning run come to an end.

Josh Vela put the Trotters ahead in the 17th minute before Tom Thorpe doubled the home side’s advantage in the second half to give Bolton their second 2-0 win over Millwall in just over a month.

There was a further blow for Millwall when Lee Gregory went off in the first half, and with Steve Morison already out that meant Harry Smith partnered Fred Onyedinma up front as the Lions chased the game after the break.

“It was a big ask for the players, but that’s what we’ve got and that’s what I’ve chosen to go with,” Harris said. “I thought some of the play was really good, but we didn’t do the basics well enough today that we did last week and in games previously.

“We didn’t hold the ball up front well enough at times, we didn’t get in good enough areas with the ball with quality. And we lacked a little bit of belief in our play and a little bit of movement. I don’t think it was until the last 15 minutes that we really played on the front foot.

“It’ll be really simple looking back on the game, there was nothing in it and it could have easily been nil-nil. We’ve gifted them two goals.”

Harris confirmed afterwards that a back spasm forced Gregory ventolin off, and though Smith had a couple of half-chances Millwall couldn’t find a breakthrough against Bolton, the only side to keep Millwall scoreless this season.

Asked if Morison’s absence was important, Harris said: “Steve played last time and we didn’t crack them.

He added: “I didn’t think any team would stop us from scoring twice in the season, but they’ve done it.

“I spoke before the game about key moments, big moments, and making sure we were on the end of them. Today we weren’t.

“The two goals were inexcusable by my young players. They’re old enough for me to pick them, they’re good enough players for me to pick them, and they have to perform.

“The basics on the football pitch, some of my players didn’t do today. And we got punished. When you play against good sides that are going to be on top of the league at the end of the season, if you don’t do the basics and match them in key areas in and around the penalty boxes then it’s going to cost you dearly.

“Today I thought there was nothing in the game whatsoever. I thought they got into good areas around our box, we got into really good areas around their box. We put balls into the box and Harry had a couple of opportunities to score but it hasn’t quite happened for him.

“I’m disappointed for my players.”

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly