GEORGE Saville showed his battling qualities right until the final whistle against his former club on Saturday– and wasn’t apologising for putting Romaine Sawyers on his “backside” after the 1-0 win.
Against his former club, Saville scored after 51 seconds and was still fighting for possession with Sawyers in the 94th minute when referee Stuart Atwell blew for full-time. Tempers briefly appeared to be about to flare, before the players shook hands after an intense encounter.
Sawyers had scored the winner when the sides met earlier this season, but Saville had the last laugh on Saturday as the Lions stretched their unbeaten run to 11 league games.
“He obviously wasn’t happy that I put him on his backside, which is fair enough, but I wasn’t going to stand down,” Saville said. “He’s annoyed that they’ve lost when the whistle is gone. I’m not one of those who’s going to let him think he can get in my face like that.
“There’s no hard feelings. He’s a good player and that’s it.
"We caught them cold a little bit. Obviously they play attractive football but we pressed high. They take risks and Jed [Wallace] did well to read the situation. I took over from there and slotted it in.
“I was at Brentford for a year, the promotion season. I have fond memories of it and had a fantastic time there. But I’m a Millwall player now. I’ve been back to Griffin Park three or four times and been given stick, that’s just part of football.
“To get one over on them was great for me, but more important was for Millwall to get three points.
“They’re a really good passing team, and especially in the second half up until 90 minutes they didn’t stop banging on the door. We held on and got a bit of luck along the way and it was our day.
“We’re on a fantastic run. The main thing for us this season was to get to 50 points. We’ve done that and we can go out and enjoy ourselves and see where it takes us.
“We’ve gone into games and there are not many teams in the division [against whom] we haven’t held our own. At the start of the season we weren’t getting anything out of games, like Forest when we lost but played really well.
“If we’re being honest they might have deserved something in that second half but we got that little bit of luck that we didn’t get at the start of the season. It’s all coming together at the perfect time.”
Brentford hit the woodwork twice and had a goal disallowed. Saville also struck the post and Millwall defender James Meredith cleared off the line late on.
Bees boss Dean Smith felt the better side lost, but Saville didn’t agree. “I don’t think the best team lost, necessarily. It depends on how you look at the best team. We showed commitment, we had a tough week, which no one takes into consideration. We were up at Hull [on Tuesday].”
Saville, 24, now has nine goals this season, after 11 in his career before this campaign. And he revealed he has surpassed the target he set for himself at the beginning of the season.
“You always set yourself targets, individually and as a team,” he said. “I wanted eight goals from midfield by the end of the season, that would have been a good season for me.
“I want to try and get a few more, I’m not going to stop now.”
Millwall are just six points off the top six, with their achievements this season going somewhat under the radar considering how much they are punching above their weight.
Savillle was asked why he thought they weren’t getting the attention they deserve and he responded: “Because it’s Millwall Football Club. We came up from League One and everyone wrote us off at the start of the season and thought we were going to go straight back down.
“We’ve just shown how far we’ve come. The guys have recruited well, and especially in January we brought in players to bolster the squad. They’ve been great signings on and off the field. As a club we’ve got a great togetherness at the moment right through the whole squad.”
Millwall go to Barnsley next weekend, when they are aiming to match the club record of six successive away league wins.
“It would be a great achievement. We are all in the same boat, we all want to achieve good things for this football club. We’re in a great position.
“Barnsley away will be tough, but there’s no reason why we can’t do it.”
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