MILLWALL took another huge stride towards the play-offs with boss Neil Harris acknowledging their run is “miraculous” – but demanding they continue their charge with a win at Ipswich on Monday.
Shaun Williams put Millwall in front in the 29th second against Nottingham Forest on Friday, before Lee Gregory scored a second to give them a 2-0 lead at half-time which they ruggedly defended in the second period.
Millwall are now unbeaten in 13 league games, a point off the play-offs before the later kick-offs, and can break a club record of consecutive league away victories by winning at Portman Road.
“We just focus one game at a time,” Harris said. “It helps there is no pressure on us. As we stand, a point off the top six we roll on to Monday. All the players care about is beating Ipswich. They high-five each other, they cuddle each other, but it’s, ‘let’s go beat Ipswich, let’s go get seven away wins in a row’.
“The players are driving it and that comes from good leadership and good characters. The play-offs a reality? Well, at the moment they are. We’ve had to work long and hard for this unbeaten run, 13 league games unbeaten since New Year’s Day.
“But we still have seven more to go. What we have achieved so far has been miraculous, but we want more. I said to them there I want more than that.
“Players hear me talking about away wins and records and them achieving – they must think I’m a broken record. But that’s important, important for standards and important for hunger.
“I like winning. I love winning games, and I love seeing the boys win.”
It was the third time in the last four games the Lions have scored inside the first minute.
Harris explained it’s no coincidence that they have been striking early.
He said: “It’s a good habit. We like to impose ourselves on games, we want to set our stall out as quickly as possible and we certainly wanted to get after Forest today.
“We train with intensity all week. When we train we train hard. We don’t train for long at times. I’m a believer in getting your work done and when you do it you work hard.
“Every day the players are in they train with that intensity. When we start like that, when we are on the front foot and aggressive – that’s how we train against each other every day.
“If you’re asking am I surprised by the number of early goals this season then I’m certainly not. There is no magic formula, I’m not a genius with team-talks before kick-offs or anything like that. Steve Morison might take the credit with his speech in the huddle before we kick off.
“I think it’s just the way we play. If teams start slowly then they are going to have a rude awakening from us.
“There is a good focus about the training ground every day. The temperament and the attitude to come in and work is phenomenal. What we ask of them they carry out to the letter or try to.
“You can see the players laughing and joking and that’s fine in good teams as long as they do the nasty side of it. There’s no question my players do both sides of the game. They enjoy themselves on the pitch but they do the nasty sides, the extra yards and they throw themselves in front of the ball.
“Very rarely have I had to say to my team I don’t see a focus in us or we have to switch on. I might remind them in the chat before the game, but very rarely. They are a good group."
Both Millwall's goals were created by Ben Marshall with crosses from the left.
“We try to play to our strengths, we play with two wingers in every game and Jed [Wallace] and Marshall are two very good crossers of the ball,"Harris said. "You also try to highlight areas you think you can hurt the opposition, and we thought we could hurt them in wide areas and with balls in the box.
“The amount of times Nottingham Forest switched play and shot from distance, I guess they thought that was the way they were going to cause us problems.
“When you work on something all week in training and then you get the benefit on a Saturday, it’s pleasing.”
Image: Millwall FC