STEVE Morison said teams “either sink or swim” when they play at The Den as he praised fans for creating a “fantastic” atmosphere in the FA Cup win over Leicester City on Saturday.
Shaun Cummings’ 90th-minute goal after Lee Gregory flicked Fred Onyedinma’s cross into his path gave Millwall a third win over a Premier League side in the competition this season and set up a last-eight tie with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
The crowd of 18,012 was Millwall’s biggest at home since 2001, and the atmosphere built as they realised their team were on the verge of producing something special despite being down to 10 men after Jake Cooper’s 51st-minute sending-off.
Morison also felt that Ben Chilwell passing throw-in duties to his centre-back team-mate Yohan Benalouane was an indicator that Leicester were not dealing with the home fans’ hostility.
“It was fantastic,” Morison said. “We spoke about it before. We wanted it to be hostile on the pitch. It wasn’t knocking someone over and asking them if they were okay and picking them up! We’re here to win a game of football.
“The left-back started on throw-ins and after a bit of verbals he didn’t want to take throw-ins anymore. I’m not being funny but he said his fingers were hurting him. Come on, do you know what I mean? You’re playing a game of football. But he didn’t want to take a throw-in after that, he asked the centre-half to take them first half.
“You either sink or swim when you come here. So far three teams have come here and sunk.
“Football is changing, football is changing. You’ve see it out there today, centre-halves dropping off and allowing midfielders go for the headers for the goal-kicks because they don’t want to have the physical battle.
“They come to us down here and if they don’t want to have a physical battle they’re going to come unstuck because that’s what we do week-in, week-out. I love it, I think it’s great.
“We’ve got good backing, our fans go everywhere. We always have a good few hundred if it’s really far away and if it’s a closer game we always sell it out, and they make it feel like a home game. It’s great.
“If you play here and do well and know what this atmosphere is about you can do it anywhere.”
Millwall’s task against the Premier League champions appeared to be made close to impossible after Cooper’s red card for a second bookable offence, a foul on Ahmed Musa.
Morison admitted Leicester were difficult to contain early on in the game as the movement of Musa, Demarai Gray and Shinshi Okazaki stretched the home side.
But Morison felt Millwall actually got stronger despite being a man down.
“Funnily enough I think we were better with 10 men than we were with 11,” Morison said. “I think out of the three Premier League teams we played they were the ones that turned up with the best game plan, I think the other two teams turned up thinking they were just going to roll us over.
“You could see they had their game plan, they made the pitch massive, the central midfielders were going to full-back. In the first half an hour we couldn’t get anywhere near them.
“We just showed we’re together, we’re a team, we kept going all the way until the end. With 10 men we could have sat off and rolled over but we didn’t.
“We just did what we were doing with 11 men, we stayed compact which is what we do in every game, two banks of four. Break us down if you can. We stuck at our task and we’ve got people like Fred who can stretch the game.
“Up top I think I was having a good afternoon in the physical side of it. I came out on top in most of my battles with the centre-halves and when it mattered at the end there were two good bits of play and the ball was in the back of the net.”
Image: Millwall FC