NEIL Harris felt Millwall “ran Leeds off the park” in their 1-0 win over the league leaders on Saturday, praising his players for their energy levels despite playing large parts of their previous two league fixtures with 10 men.
Aiden O’Brien scored the winner for Millwall in the 73rd minute, but the home side should have been ahead long before that after a close to complete display.
Steve Morison had a first-half goal disallowed, Shaun Williams twice went close with long-range efforts, Jed Wallace struck the post, and Shaun Hutchinson was denied by Felix Wiedwald. Fred Onyedinma also ran a Leeds defence ragged in the absence of the suspended Lee Gregory.
Jordan Archer, by contrast, didn’t have a single save to make against the side that are still top of the Championship table.
Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen was so displeased with what he had seen from his side he took off his two wide attacking players, Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez, at half-time. It made little difference, and had George Saville found the net late on with a close-range strike it would have been a fairer reflection of Millwall’s superiority.
“There are a few of the boys in there disappointed. Stevie Morison could have had the match ball, Fred got in some great areas, [as did] Jed. Aiden got one and George missed a sitter at the end, I think there was a little bobble,” Harris said.
“What I’m really pleased about is that we kept going. We came in at half-time knowing that we had done well but hadn’t got our noses in front.
“I delivered a message to the players, but they deliver the message themselves sometimes. They came in with the bit between their teeth, that they weren’t going to settle for a really good first-half performance and only getting a point or coming off unlucky.
“They wanted it and that showed today.
“We were better at Forest first game of the season. We’ve played a lot of games this season when we’ve been as good as that and not got the points. It’s very pleasing to play that well and get the three points.
“We knew it was going to be tough because Leeds had scored the most goals and conceded the least, that why they’re top of the league.
“We worked very, very hard on Thursday and Friday to make sure we had a game plan to stop them playing. Then credit goes to the players for executing it. Not only were we the better team on the pitch with and without the ball, but you have to remember last Saturday at Wolves, almost an identical team played 30 minutes with 10 men.
“Then Tuesday night a disgraceful decision by the referee left us with 10 men for 60 minutes. And I almost picked the same team again. I thought we out-fought, out-ran them, won every first and second ball. I thought we ran Leeds off the park, so credit to my players.”
The attendance of 16, 447 was the biggest at The Den this season, and Harris was pleased for Lions fans.
He said: “We enjoy it because it’s three points and because we played the team that’s top of the league, the best team this season, and beat them comprehensively.
“The fact it’s Millwall-Leeds adds to it, of course it does. It builds the atmosphere in the ground, both sets of supporters look forward to it, there’s a lot said in the press about it.
“It was important we gave our fans bragging rights, definitely.”
Christiansen, meanwhile, was unhappy with his side’s approach. “We didn’t go into the battle with the same intensity that Millwall did.
“I don’t know if it was the atmosphere but the entrance on the pitch wasn’t the right one knowing the qualities of Millwall. They are a physical and direct team, fast in the transition and you have to counter that and be as fast on the ball as your opponent.”
Image: Millwall FC