Millwall defender: 'You can tell we love playing here – there is a connection with the fans'

JAKE Cooper said Millwall players feel a “real connection” with the fans as they continue to make The Den a “fortress”.

The Lions defeated Bristol City 2-0 on Saturday and haven’t lost at home since November.

There were more than 16,000 supporters at The Den for the second successive week as excitement builds at the prospect of finishing in the play-offs.

“We feel a real connection with the fans, everyone is willing us to go on and keep improving,” Cooper said. “The atmosphere out there was great as it was last Friday and if they can keep coming along like they have done today then it is a great place to play.

“Ever since I signed here you felt a good vibe around the place and every time we come here we’re loved by the fans. You can tell by our performances and how the boys talk how much we love playing here. This is a real fortress for us.

“Our roles within the team are becoming more set in place, we’re working better as a team as each game goes on.

“We have to work for every goal and point that we get and we found out that at Ipswich. Today was difficult but we got an early goal and built on that.

“If we keep performing as we have it’s difficult for teams. Hopefully we can keep this going for the last five games.

“Last year we did a similar run, 17 games.

“The message has been exactly the same, we’ve not changed anything we have done. Training has been the same and there is no reason to change it.

“In January Marshy [Ben Marshall] and Shacks [Jason Shackell] came in and added to the squad. A lot of us were here last year and got experience of the play-offs and hopefully we can use that in the next five games.

“The momentum will be good for us going into the last five games.”

Millwall are just a point off sixth-place Middlesbrough going into the final month of the season.

“I don’t think we’ve gone into any game this season under pressure, the better we’ve done the pressure has dropped off us,” Cooper continued. “We pushed away from the relegation zone and then it was about how far we could go. We don’t need to change that now.

“A lot of the players were here last year, and the squad is well-built. We’re a close group of players and friends and we use that out on the pitch.

“Even the gaffer touched on it, in January we were 20 points behind Bristol City. Now to go three points above them is a great run and a credit to everyone at the club.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly