BYRON Webster said there was no doom and gloom at the Millwall training ground after their unbeaten league run came to an end – because players have “the best job in the world”.
Millwall lost for the first time in 17 League One fixtures to a last-minute winner from Swindon’s Conor Thomas last Saturday.
Millwall’s season is all on the line this month, seven games in 30 days in April when their fate will be decided: Another crack at promotion through the play-offs; or a third successive season in the third tier.
Webster isn’t concerned with that heavy workload, and said the players don’t let defeats get them down too much.
“We were on a good run and lost and everyone’s suddenly downcast, and the world’s ending,” he said: “There are no problems.
“Throughout the season there will be times when you play well and don’t get the results you deserve, and times you play poorly and do.
“We’ve got the greatest job in the world. We get a lot of help off the pitch here. Any player will tell you they prefer to be playing games than training. Maybe we’re not doing a lot of training on the pitch because of recovery, but I want to be playing games.
“Fitness is not a problem. We’ve got the physios and masseuses, there are a few spa days. There is some video work. It’s all tailored, it’s super-professional now and if we’re not working our legs we’re working our brains.
“It’s quite a relaxed group. Don’t get me wrong, [Monday] was a rubbish, rubbish day. We go watch the video, get a few tellings-off and after that it has to be forgotten about because if not it plays on people’s minds, people over-think things. As footballers we have a lot of time for that and that can be a bad thing.
“Once the meeting is done, and the serious bits gone over, and maybe the gaffer won’t like it but there will be a few jokes, a few idiots like myself annoying people. It’s just about trying to get people to think differently and more positively.”
Inevitably, after some flat performances following the FA Cup exit to Tottenham Hotspur at the quarter-final stage, questions were raised whether it had taken too much out of the squad.
Webster has little time for that view, as he explained the motivation between now and April 30, and hopefully beyond.
“Those games were, if anything, a benefit for the club financially,” Webster said. “It’s nice to look back and say we beat the likes of Leicester and Watford but at the end of the day that doesn’t get us anything.
“Us going up will benefit players financially, we’ll be playing at a higher level, and it’ll benefit the club financially in the short- and long-term playing against the likes of Leeds if they don’t go up, ex-Premier League teams.
“It benefits everyone for us to get promoted. Although the FA Cup was nice, there is no hangover, there is no thinking about it now. To be honest, other than the draws when the boys would get excited, there was no other talk about it.”
Millwall are back in action at The Den for the first time in four games when they face Scunthorpe on Saturday, when they will be looking to avenge a 3-0 defeat at Glanford Park in December.
The Lions will also be hoping for more attacking fluency to avoid a fourth blank at home in the league this year.
“That’s down to how we’re playing but also how the opponents are playing, especially at The Den,” Webster, 30, said. “There is a lot of respect, they come with their game plan and it’s up to us to break them down. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to do that in a few games.
“It’s not about getting one over on them. We know what we need to do, we know we need to win.
“It’s a bit of a cliché that they say at the bottom there are six-point games, but at the top there are a few six-point games coming up. It can soon turn around.
“It’s all swings and roundabouts throughout the year. Before the Tottenham game we were the best team in the world, getting all the accolades and people patting us on the back. Then we get a few bad results and we get a kick up the arse.
“There’s not too much thinking about it because if you do it’ll drive you crazy.”
Image: Millwall FC