NEIL Harris has overseen a complete transformation in almost three years in charge of Millwall – but insists the credit for this season’s success belongs to the players.
Harris and his assistant manager Dave Livermore took charge of their first game together on March 14, 2015, a 2-0 defeat at Bolton.
They were soon appointed on a permanent basis and won promotion in their second full season. They have defied expectation this campaign by pushing the Lions towards an unlikely play-off challenge with 12 games left.
But Harris insisted he is “not fussed” about personal credit, instead preferring to deflect the praise elsewhere.
“I get the respect from my players, I get the support from my board, and most of all I get fantastic support from the fans,” Harris said.
“Is the club in a better position today than when I took over? I’d like to think so. I don’t think it’s just about being successful in terms of getting results, it’s about building a good Millwall side with good Millwall characters.
“We’re nowhere near the finished article at the moment. We’ve got some good young players, brought in some fantastic players this season, but we want to improve again in the summer.
“I still see us as moving along the timeline to where we want to be, but we’ve got a long way to go. I think the players get that as well. Everyone has seen the upturn in performances and standards since January, and even before that when I made it very public that I wanted to bring players in to improve us. That maybe changed the mindset.
“I’ve seen it around the training ground in the standards and professionalism. I want this to be the start, I want us to be better than what we are now.
“I’m not fussed about the credit, personally. I want the players to get it because they deserve it.
“You talk about tactics and the technical side of it, yes we’re helping with that but it’s the players’ performances on the pitch, their character, their determination.
“You couldn’t say Birmingham and Burton was about me getting it massively tactically right, it was about the players. Yes we had a game plan as always but it’s their desire to win games of football.
“First half last week against Sheffield Wednesday we were much better than them first half, even with all the quality they’ve got, and were 1-0 down to a wonder goal. Then it’s sink or swim, and that 20 or 25 minutes at the start of the second half was as good a spell of pressure as I’ve seen a Millwall team build in a long time at The Den.
“That sums us up, really. The players deserve the credit, not me.”
Image: Millwall FC