Harris praises reaction of Millwall players and fans after Boxing Day Wolves draw

NEIL Harris was pleased with the reaction of his side and the supporters after Millwall came from a goal down to earn a 2-2 Boxing Day draw with Wolves at The Den.

The Lions conceded just before the break when Diogo Jota slotted home Helder Costa’s cross after Lee Gregory had given his side a 13th-minute lead.

Millwall went 2-1 down in the 56th minute as Romain Saiss found the back of the net from long range, but the hosts remained positive and secured a point through Jake Cooper’s 72nd-minute header (above).

“The boys came in at half-time disappointed and a bit gutted, but I didn’t have to lift them,” Harris said. “They knew they switched off for a moment, we switched off a couple of times in the first half. When you switch off against good teams you’re going to get punished.

“It was a wake-up call that you can’t switch off at all. But the reaction at the start of the second half was excellent and we could have got our noses in front but didn’t. And then the reaction to their second was top drawer, from the fans as well. There was no sitting back or negativity on the pitch or off the pitch.

“We had a right go and I thought the second goal was well-earned as well.

“I’m really pleased with a point. No one was short-changed today, I thought it was an excellent game of football, end to end. Dave Livermore, my assistant, summed it up when he said, ‘That’s a Millwall performance.’

“We had to be patient at times, we had to compete against a top, top Wolves side. They’re a great side and we created numerous chances ourselves.

"When we played up there earlier in the season we had a very good shape and limited them to few chances, but we weren’t very good with the ball at times. Today, we had to be brave, we had to use it wisely and get the mix between being direct and getting the passing moves going.”

Nuno Santo’s hadn’t conceded a goal in December, but Harris felt his side could have put more than two past them on Tuesday.

“We scored two very different goals, but two very good goals. Jake Cooper should have scored two more, Aiden O’Brien should have scored a tap-in at the back post,” Harris continued. “Lee Gregory had a chance one-on-one which probably evens out Costa’s effort when he was through as well.

“I thought we had the best chances. They got behind us a couple of times but other than that I thought we limited them to shots from outside the box.

“Nuno has a really good group of players there. It’s fine saying they’ve got this amount of money, but you’ve got to spend it wisely. Wolves have got that balance right between the foreign influx of players with flair and quality. Their foreign players didn’t lose their bottle, they put their foot in and competed and didn’t moan when they got tackled.

“They’ve got a good backbone of English players as well. It’s pleasing because not many teams have taken points off Wolves this year. I’m sure Nuno will sit here and say they were in a game today.”

Neither side held back in the physical confrontations, with Conor McLaughlin and Shaun Williams booked before the break for strong challenges.

Harris praised referee Tim Robinson for his handling of the game.

“I thought the referee was outstanding,” Harris said. “There were some real tackles flying in from both teams, it was aggressive but players got up off the floor. There were some yellow cards and rightly so, but on Boxing Day people have come out after Christmas and spent their money, they want to see tackles and competitiveness, and I thought it was managed very well by the referee.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly