Harris: Cup performance 'everything you want from a Millwall team'

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris said going down to 10 men “galvanised the stadium” after Shaun Cummings scored in the last minute to knock Premier League Leicester City out of the FA Cup.

Jake Cooper was sent off for a second yellow card early in the second half and Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri brought on Marc Albrighton and Jamie Vardy as the away side hoped to avoid a replay, but Cummings finished Lee Gregory’s through ball to send Millwall into the last eight.

Millwall had to withstand ferocious pressure in the opening 20 minutes, with goalkeeper Jordan Archer and Cooper combining to deny Shinji Okasaki in the 16th minute as Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray also threatened.

It looked like the Foxes would crack the 10-man hosts when Okasaki was presented with a chance a few yards out in the 80th minute but Archer, who has now kept six successive clean sheets, spread himself to make the block.

And with a replay looming Cummings scored his second goal of the competition to send the Lions into their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2013.

“I was delighted with backs-to-the-wall defending,” Harris said. “We knew they would have moments on the ball and create chances, they’ve got some excellent players.

“We knew at key moments we would have to ride our luck, defend well, block balls on the line, rely on our goalkeeper and we did for 30 minutes.

“After that I thought we grew into the game. We can cause any team problems. It’s how we get up the park and how we use the ball. Once we went past the half-hour mark our decision-making got better, we forced Leicester back deeper and we built some pressure.

“I’ve got to be honest, I think I lost my cool a little bit when the goal went in. It’s a fantastic moment, a moment for everyone in the stadium, Millwall-connected.

“Going down to 10 men just after half-time is tough. It put the pressure and expectations on Leicester’s shoulders. My players didn’t freeze, it galvanised the stadium. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, especially in the second half, and it carried my players.

“And my players carried the stadium because the pressing with 10 men, the closing down, the use of the ball, the chances we created was everything you want from a Millwall team.

“I’ve got a fantastic dressing room and a great spirit. I said to them results like that don’t just happen against Leicester City, against Watford, against Bournemouth, especially with 10 men today. It happens because we have quality in the dressing room and we’ve got spirit and understanding.”

The draw for the quarter-finals includes Lincoln City after their win at Burnley earlier on Saturday. After five successive home draws Harris wants another one with Wembley just 90 minutes away, but he also insisted focus will quickly switch to the League One clash with Chesterfield next week.

Harris said: “We’re in the quarter-finals. We can’t reach the final, a League One team can’t reach the final. We’ve got ourselves to the quarter-final and we look forward to the next round. What I will say is that we’ve done really well, exceeded all expectation, but congratulations to Lincoln because they took it to another level.

“I’d like a home draw in the next round. I’m not fussed who we play but I’d like a home draw. It sounds really boring but we look forward to the draw tomorrow night and want a home draw but I want three points on Tuesday night against Chesterfield.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly


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