NEIL Harris promised Millwall wouldn’t change their approach after Derby couldn’t “physically compete” with the Lions in the first half at The Den on Saturday.
On Frank Lampard’s first visit to The Den in professional football, the former West Ham midfielder saw his side fall two goals behind when Jake Cooper and Shaun Williams scored for Millwall in the first half.
David Nugent pulled a goal back after the break but after losing a two-goal lead on the opening day against Middlesbrough, Millwall hung on for their first league win of the season.
“I don’t think Derby could physically compete in the first half hour, the second half they were much stronger,” Harris said. “There is going to be a lot of big clubs and players that will grace that pitch this year as there were last year.
“With the level of analysis in all football nowadays, but certainly in the Premier League and Championship, you know exactly what to expect from the opponent. All you don’t know is what the team sheet is going to be.
“You know exactly who does what, how they play. We knew exactly what Derby were going to do. It’s difficult executing the game plan for 90 minutes. We did it brilliantly for 45. The last half hour we got tired.
“Derby did it for probably 60 minutes against us but not for the first half hour. That’s the battle. We’re going to face some really good sides here but what won’t change is our approach, our mentality and the physical aspect of our game. That will always be there.”
Lampard felt his side were denied a goal in the second half when Martyn Waghorn beat Jordan Archer but the offside flag had gone up.
“The Millwall treatment, we know, is coming. They’re effective in what they do, you have to give them credit for that,” Lampard said. “But we didn’t have enough urgency, we didn’t deal with balls in the box, hence the first goal.
“We probably deserved a draw. We had a goal disallowed that was onside, he’s level.
“I’m not pointing fingers at all, we know balls are coming into our box and as a group we have to deal with them. There is an element of a lottery when you play Millwall but you can try to win the lottery by clearing your lines when you can.
“We didn’t and in this atmosphere and this stadium it either goes with the home team, which is massive, or it goes against them as it did later in the game.
“We allowed that in the first half. We worked on Millwall’s strengths and on our strengths against Millwall and we showed them in each half.
“We worked hard on dealing with their long balls. Again, elements of it are a lottery. The second half we were better because you have that extra urgency.
“If you isolate the first 20 minutes, we went 2-0 down but I don’t think you can attribute that completely to the atmosphere here. They are hostile, they do support their team, but it’s not a full stadium. I’ve played in a lot more hostile stadiums that are full to the rafters and they’re really aggressive.
“It’s certainly not an excuse.
“I like [Harris]. He works with what he’s got. They did fantastic last year to almost get to the play-offs. I like Neil Harris as a man, I like him as a manager. I think he’s done very well here.
"I knew that anyway. It was good to see him on a personal level, we went to school together. It’s been a long time.”
Harris was also asked if Lampard would remember his first game at The Den.
Harris said: “I remember every game I’ve managed. I’m sure Frank got a warm reception from our fans. He’s going to be a cracking manager, the man he is, the professionalism he had in his career, the success he’s had.
“It takes time, I’m still learning every day. He’s going to do hugely well as a manager and coach.”
Image: Millwall FC