Millwall should beat teams like Bury – Wallace

JED Wallace said there were "no excuses" after Millwall could only draw 0-0 with Bury at The Den on Saturday.

It was Millwall's fifth scoreless draw in League One this year and the result dropped them out of the top six.

Lions boss Neil Harris said afterwards that the rough state of some parts of the pitch didn't help, and Wallace agreed.

Wallace did provide the game's most exciting moment when he dribbled from one penalty area to the other to set up Steve Morison for a 68th-minute goal that was ruled out for offside but that replays showed should have stood.

Wallace said: "I felt like I waited for the perfect moment…I'd like to think the attacking team there gets the advantage if it's that close. But it wasn't to be and we get on with it.

"It was a battle to keep the ball under control on that surface. It's not ideal for someone like me who wants to carry it past people. I managed to get it under control for that one. It was a good finish from Moro, it would have been a nice goal.

"It's no easy job being a groundsman, I'm not going to sit here and batter them. But it is difficult. You're trying to get into pockets [of space], players like Aiden [O'Brien] coming off the bench are trying to get into pockets. Those boys thrive on the half-turn but the ball's like a bouncing bomb.

"We're not going to sit here and pretend we play out from the back, drop a midfielder in. Everyone knows what Millwall are about. We get up the pitch as quickly as we can, work off knockdowns and get the ball into the box.

"But it does help sometimes when you can do a little one-two. We make no excuses, it's a game of football, two goals at each end, us versus Bury and in a game of fight-ball we would have fancied ourselves. It turned out to be that and we couldn't get the goal.

"There's been a lot of frustrating games here. I know we've been doing well but you just feel the frustration of it, the last six or seven games at The Den.

"[Teams] come with a 3-5-2 but it's not, it's five [defenders]. They suss us out, realise our strengths are getting the ball into Morison's feet, [Lee] Gregory's feet. They drop two holding midfielders and they've effectively got seven at the back, almost, at times.

"It's difficult, but you've got some of the best players in the division so you have to find a way. It wasn't good enough from us."

Harris also said that Lions fans need to be more patient with the players, and Wallace felt Bury's approach to the game contributed to increased anxiety levels in the stadium.

"They slowed it down, it didn't feel like the ref was on top of it, the ball was in the stand where they've booted it out of touch," Wallace said. "When they're doing that it's difficult to build pressure and momentum which is what we thrive on.

"You hear the atmosphere at The Den when the ball goes in the channel to myself or Moro, we win a corner, ball comes in and we're on top of people, another cross goes in. That's what we aim to do.

"To be fair to them they put in an excellent performance slowing us down. It turned out to be a frustrating day for us. We were definitely the better team, I don't think there was anyone questioning that. A lot of the time the ball didn't fall to us. It felt like this could be one of those afternoons and that's how it turned out."

Millwall travel to face Rochdale at Spotland on Tuesday night, and Wallace thinks the way Keith Hill's side play will suit the away team.

And he isn't concerned that the Lions are out of the play-off places with just 10 league games left this season.

"I had to ask Gregs were [Bury] in a relegation battle before the game, I don't really look at the table," Wallace admitted. "Probably once every three weeks I look at it. I know full well it's in our hands and if we get 22 points or more from [10] games we're going to be right in around it.

"The promotion target stays the same. Games in hand are all well and good but you've got to win them. We look forward to the game Tuesday night, someone actually having a go at us. It suits us, we want to defend.

"The centre-halves will be the first ones to tell you that they probably don't want to be stepping out with the ball trying to break teams down. That's not what we're about. I know it's frustrating for the crowd sometimes, watching teams being hard to break down.

"But that's what our success has been built on – clean sheets. If you don't concede then you win more than you lose and it'll be the same mentality on Tuesday.

"It's been a little bit frustrating, sometimes you get decisions, sometimes you don't. [Saturday] was difficult but you dust yourself down and go again.

"Rochdale are free-scoring, they know they've got to beat us to get above us. I'd like to think them, Oxford, they're going to have a go at us which suits us on the counterattack.

"I don't beat around the bush, Bury at home was a three-point game, in my opinion. It's two points dropped so it makes Tuesday very, very important to not get beat."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly


2 thoughts on “Millwall should beat teams like Bury – Wallace

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