IT was the perfect way to go into the international break, as Millwall finally got their reward for the chances they created against Norwich City, with Lions boss Neil Harris saying “we believe in what we’re doing here”.
Millwall did what they had done in the first four league games this season, but this time took their opportunities for a first win of the season.
The Lions blew away a Norwich side that had started as if they would give their opponents real trouble, but were 3-0 down by the break and when Shaun Hutchinson made it 4-0 in the 72nd minute it didn’t flatter his team.
Lee Gregory – on his birthday and who had been a doubt with a neck injury but insisted on playing – got his first goal of the season in the 15th minute, George Saville made it 2-0 two minutes later and Jed Wallace added a third three minutes before the break.
Harris revealed he had told his squad they would get their first Championship win this campaign if they maintained their performance levels.
“I promised my players last week it was coming. After the 0-0 with Bristol City I was delighted with the game management and character after throwing away three points against Ipswich,” Harris said.
“You have to manage games and if you do I gave them my word that results would come.
“That clearly doesn’t make a season, beating Norwich 4-0 at home. But it’s another small step in the right direction.
“We couldn’t keep conceding one chance a game and getting beaten 1-0 or drawing 1-1. We’ve got ability that we can score goals from.
“Today, I asked the players for everything. I asked for a clean-sheet mentality and an aggressive Millwall performance with and without the ball, and a ruthlessness about us.
“My players have delivered and I’m really proud of them today.”
Harris believes the sides Millwall face next “might take note” of their emphatic display.
“As managers we speak quite a lot to people in the game and anyone who has been at our games has been really, really impressed with how we have played,” he said.
“We believe in what we do here. It has to be that way at this club. You have to play with passion and pride, you have to be able to get it forward quickly but you have to be able to pass it as well.
“We feel like we’re there with it. I think people know we’ve played really well in games, other managers have commented on it, saying they’d got away with a result.
“We’ll scare the life out of teams this season. Teams that we’ve played against, it won’t surprise them. But the rest of the league might take note of it.”
Harris, though, wasn’t 100 per cent satisfied, after goalkeeper Jordan Archer made a number of saves for a second clean sheet in the league this season before next week’s international break.
He said: “I thought we gave Norwich too many opportunities in the area to get shots in, we called too many times on the goalkeeper to make saves.
“However, we’ve won the game 4-0, so I’m a happy manager.
“I’ve seen Norwich play twice already this season, they’ve got a really talented squad and an infrastructure that we can’t compete with at the moment and financial backing that we can’t compete with.
“We knew it was a tough period around the international break, Norwich today, and then we go to Wolves and QPR before Leeds at home.
“It was important to get the points on board. It gives everyone a boost, the dressing room, the club and the fan base as well. We belong at this level, we’ve put in performances to show that.
“It was important to get that first three points, but I’ve reminded them that’s the first of many we need at this level to compete.
“The players that go away [on international duty] need to be safe from injury, the other lads will have a bit of time off from working hard.
“We have to keep learning, and we can be better than that.”
Image: Millwall FC