Millwall boss: We know what this means to people

NEIL Harris said Millwall teams he played in always rose to derby occasions – and he is expecting his side to do the same against Charlton at The Den on Wednesday night.

Harris believes derbies are the “pinnacle” for Millwall players and the “atmospheres you want to be involved in”.

“It’s a friendly rivalry, first and foremost, but it is passionate,” Harris said. “I know various families that have Millwall and Charlton relatives living in the same house. A friend of mine sits next to a Charlton fan at work. It’s a huge game. We know what it means and what sort of performance we have to put in.

“Any Millwall team I was involved in always did that and I don’t expect my team to be any different.

“We have to prepare for that performance and hope on the evening it’s enough to win the game.

“Local derbies and hostile rivalries – Millwall-Charlton, Millwall-West-Ham, Millwall-Palace, Millwall-Leeds – as a Millwall player they’re the pinnacle, they’re the games and atmospheres you want to be involved in."

Asked what the fundamentals of a good performance in a derby are, Harris said: “Passion, pride, commitment, desire, endeavour, tackles, headers, playing under pressure and making good decisions when under pressure. That’s with the experienced players as well as the youngsters.

“And belief is key, belief that you’re going to beat your rival. There will be moments when you’ll be under the cosh a little bit and the momentum of the game swings to the away fans, but you have to be strong and stand up and be counted. And then you take the momentum back your way and have quality at key moments. I expect that from my players.

“It’s no different being a manager to being a fan, you want to go into the festive period in good spirit and with cheer, and looking forward with excitement.

"We talk a lot about momentum but the players have to produce it. I trust my players and put faith in them and now it’s time to repay that faith with a performance. And there’s no better opportunity to do it than against Charlton."

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly