NEIL Harris wants his Millwall players to take “inspiration” from their FA Cup run, which he says would mean “nothing if we don’t go and get promoted to the Championship”.
The Lions lost 6-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in the last-ever game in the competition at White Hart Lane. Christian Eriksen gave Spurs the lead before Son Heung-min doubled the advantage before the break.
Son added a third, Dele Alli finished Eriksen’s cross for a fourth and substitute Vincent Janssen made it 5-0 with 11 minute left. Son completed his hat-trick in added-time as Spurs cruised into the last four despite losing Harry Kane with an ankle injury in the 10th minute.
Harris applauded the Millwall supporters after the game, but admitted the fear was always that Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs could cut loose.
“I wanted to say thank you to the fans not just for their support today but all the way through the competition,” Harris said. “I went straight down the tunnel because I was a little bit disappointed with the scoreline.
“Beating three Premier League sides gave us the inspiration to say this could be another one, another major upset, probably the biggest of all time.
“But we were realistic and knew Spurs could play really well and cause us a lot of problems. I was here for the last couple of games where they embarrassed Stoke in the first half and were 4-0 up. I saw the gulf between Spurs and Everton and the score didn’t do the game justice, at 3-2.
“We were under no illusions it was going to be tough. I'm disappointed with the final score but I thought Spurs were outstanding.
“You’re always hopeful. Even at half-time we were saying, ‘stay in the game, stay in the game’. The third goal really killed the tie.”
Towards the end of the contest Millwall fans chanted about going to Shrewsbury, to the ‘Que sera’ tune, prompting amusement among and applause from the home support.
“I couldn’t quite raise a smile on the sideline but I did hear it,” Harris said. “Listen, we’ve been able to enjoy this competition, it’s been a great distraction for us. A lot of people will talk about cup competitions as not needed and that they get in the way.
“But for us it has given us momentum and inspiration, 17 games unbeaten before today. I addressed the group afterwards and thanked every one of them, it was a privilege to be their manager today. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in this competition, but it means nothing if we don’t go and get promoted to the Championship.
“We can use it as inspiration in the sense that we all want to better ourselves. Today we saw a team that were much better than us. To improve as a group and individually we have to try and get to the levels that were shown out on the pitch.”
Image: Millwall FC