Millwall 'leaders' had strong message for squad after Watford win

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris revealed Steve Morison and Tony Craig warned their team-mates their FA Cup fourth-round win over Watford at The Den on Saturday afternoon “would mean nothing” if they don’t follow it up with a league victory against Walsall on Wednesday.

Morison scored the winner in the 85th minute against Walter Mazzarri's side to send the Lions into the last 16 of the competition.

With a draw that neither side wanted looming, Morison volleyed home Shane Ferguson’s cross in front of the Cold Blow Lane end to seal Millwall’s place in Monday evening’s draw.

“It’s unfair for me to single out individuals after such a good performance,” Harris said. “But I think it’s right to talk about the goal scorer.

“It’s not just his performance on the pitch. After the game when I finished congratulating the players and telling them how we move forward from this, I’ve got two real leaders in the dressing room, Steve Morison and Tony Craig, that left the players in no uncertain terms that, yes, great achievement today, but it would mean nothing if we don’t win on Wednesday against Walsall in the league.

“We talk about good performances, but that’s real leadership and real men. It’s important to us that we have that quality on and off the pitch to help us keep getting better.”

Millwall created all of the game's clear-cut chances until Byron Webster had to produce a last-ditch challenge to deny substitute Troy Deeney an equaliser in the last minute.

Lee Gregory had hit the Watford crossbar within the opening 20 seconds, and then he forced replacement goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes into a fingertip save just before half-time.

Moments into the second period Gregory scooped another effort over the bar and Shaun Williams’ also saw his close-range shot blocked

Harris said: “Good week for us as a club. I thought we were excellent today, outstanding. Individually and collectively we were better than Watford.

“I said to the boys at half-time, it was an excellent half and we could have been out of sight. But if we want to progress as a group we need to do exactly the same in the second half and have that clinical touch.

“On the whole I’m really pleased.”

Meanwhile, Hornets manager Mazzarri said his side should have been awarded a penalty by Martin Atkinson in the second half when Stefano Okaka went down under a Webster challenge.

“We didn’t have to lose and we didn’t deserve to lose,” he said. “If the referee had given the penalty when Okaka was taken down it would been a different game.

“Here at Millwall it’s not easy, it was almost a war, it was a very aggressive game, almost like a wrestling match.

“Millwall were on the limit of the regulations, we were the only ones who tried to play football.

“If I was angry it was mainly with the referee.”

Millwall’s fourth FA Cup win at The Den this season extended their unbeaten run to eight games.

"I’d like to be at home next round, I’m not fussed who we get,” Harris said. “I certainly think there will be a few sides who won’t fancy coming here.”

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly