LEE Gregory scored on the third opening day in his five seasons at Millwall – and revealed that afterwards Middlesbrough’s defenders told him they could not deal with him or Steve Morison.
After opening his account in the first fixture against Shrewsbury in 2015-16 and Oldham a season later, Gregory grabbed the second against Boro on Saturday to put Millwall two up at half-time after Aiden O’Brien’s goal.
The Lions seemed certain to be on their way to three points after dominating Tony Pulis’ side, but Martin Braithwaite scored in the 87th minute and George Friend scrambled in a 97th-minute equaliser.
Gregory was taken off in the 81st minute, with Morison substituted between the first and second goals.
“We’re absolutely gutted, it goes without saying,” Gregory said. “But once it settles in in a couple of days, we competed with a side that’s going to be top six, minimum. We held our own for 87 minutes, we looked good, we looked strong.
“It’s just minor little mistakes that cost us and I’m sure the staff will be looking at that again in the next few days and assess it. We’ve got to take the positives. If you start looking at the negatives it can affect us.
“The team the gaffer picks, we know what he wants from us. When new players come in it can take a while to get that. He’s doing the right thing in building the new players into it.
“The thing is everyone puts us down and it works in our favour, it takes the pressure off us. On paper we should not be drawing with Middlesbrough. Everyone knocks us down and it’s good to prove each time that we should be up here.
“I was speaking to a couple of their defenders and they were saying, ‘you do it so well, we can’t defend it’. When it clicks it works and hopefully it keeps working.
“I enjoy being here, it’s good fun. Whatever teams throw at us we’ll take it in our stride.”
Gregory’s goal came eight minutes before half-time, when he anticipated £7million centre-back Aden Flint’s back-header wouldn’t reach Darren Randolph.
Gregory added:” I could see he was going to try to head it back and the pitch was really dry so I knew it wasn’t going to run through. I took a gamble and because we were so close I was just trying to get anything on it. I got a little toe on it and luckily it went through his legs and I got on the end of it.
“He came and then he stumbled a little bit. Because the pitch is dry he stopped and it worked in my favour.”
Millwall had to wait until January for their first away win last season, But Gregory is keen it comes much sooner this campaign as he eyes three points at Blackburn Rovers next weekend.
“We struggled with it last year but once we got our away win we were flying,” he said. “It is very important for us because we know our home record is going to be up there. Once we get that first away win we know we’re going to be comfortable like we were last year and take it from there.”
Lions boss Neil Harris gave debuts against Boro to Jiri Skalak and Murray Wallace.
Gregory believes Skalak will show the same type of quality that was evident when he was a regular in the Brighton side that won automatic promotion in 2016-17.
“He only came in late this week so we’ve not seen much of him. But we’ve seen the videos and we know what he can do. Hopefully he’ll bring that to us.
“He’ll see what we’re about and he’ll adapt. He came in Thursday and hasn’t played much over the last year or so. The gaffer is going to have to get him into a few of the games. He’s a great player, he’s proven that in this league.”
Meanwhile, Gregory admitted his goal target is higher this season than last but wouldn’t reveal what he’s aiming for. He said: “It’s a lot better than last year. It’s a good start today.”
Image: Millwall FC