Butcher insists Millwall not looking ahead to FA Cup

CALUM Butcher insists the players are focused on Tuesday night’s game with Port Vale after extending their unbeaten run to 11 with victory over Southend last Saturday. 

Butcher started for the first time in the league since October as Fred Onyedinma's goal was enough for the Lions to move above the Shrimpers and into the top six in League One.

And the midfielder said there has been no talk of their last-16 FA Cup tie with reigning Premier League champions Leicester City as Millwall look to make it 12 games unbeaten in all competitions.

“The boys have done well in the cup,” Butcher said. “But the priority has always been the league. We look to the next game and the cup is a distraction really.

“There honestly hasn't been any talk about the Leicester game, promotion at the start of the season was the aim.

“Where we are on our run just happens to have seen us beat two Premier League teams and that’s given us the confidence to take into the league. The focus is Tuesday, and we go from there.

Butcher added: “We are creeping up the league, and getting into sixth is a big achievement from where we have come from.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of effort on the training pitch, and to see the results and us climbing up the league, that’s what you do it for.”

The summer signing from Championship side Burton Albion saw a late chance to extend the Lions' lead snuffed out by Southend goalkeeper Ted Smith.

Butcher thinks despite the deserved victory, he and the team could have played better after Southend had been reduced to 10 men when Will Atkinson was given a straight red card.

“It was a tough game, we knew it was going to be,” Butcher said. “Southend are on a good run, luckily we’ve come out with the win, but it was a tough game. I had a chance myself at the end, I was disappointed not to score.

“Throughout the game we held strong as a unit. We had to dig deep at times and win our headers, I thought we defended the box really well. I can't remember a time where they had a shot on target.

“When their player got sent off, we didn't get into our rhythm quickly enough and find the space having an extra man gives you.

“Overall, however, what we were doing in the first 40 minutes before the sending off was working.

"Maybe we went a little too direct. We just had to move the ball quicker, you knew they were going to slow it down. They would have been happy with a point after having a man sent off.

“We got our chance and I thought Fred scored a great header. But we needed to be more composed when we got into key areas as you knew they were going to slow it down.

“To get the three points was massive.”

Image source: © Millwall FC



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