NEIL Harris didn’t spare his Millwall side any criticism after seeing them defeated for the first time this season.
Millwall were 2-0 down to Sheffield Wednesday after 46 minutes at Hillsborough before Ryan Tunnicliffe gave his side hope with a 72nd-minute goal.
The Lions could have snatched a draw in injury-time, but James Meredith’s overhead kick was cleared off the line and after a scramble the ball ended up in the arms of Owls goalkeeper Cameron Dawson.
Millwall finished the game with a central midfield of Tunnicliffe and Conor McLaughlin, who came on for the injured George Saville at half-time.
Shaun Williams didn’t travel with the squad, and Harris later said it was due to a “serious family issue”.
Barry Bannon put Wednesday ahead when his half-volley from the edge of the box cannoned in off the crossbar after Millwall had been careless in possession in their own half.
Millwall made a disastrous start to the second half when Tom Lees squeezed the ball in at the far post, Harris slamming his side’s defending.
Harris brought on Tom Elliott and Jiri Skalak for Steve Morison and Aiden O’Brien with half an hour left, after the latter two had made little impact.
And the Lions gave themselves hope of rescuing something from the contest when Lee Gregory picked out the run of Tunnicliffe into the box, and the midfielder fired home low into the bottom corner.
Millwall had chances to level but Wednesday could also have added to their lead late on, the best opportunity falling to Fernando Forestieri who shot wide at the near post.
“I won’t accept that we were really strong at the finish and should have got something out of the game,” Harris said. “I won’t accept that. We threw the game away in the first 60 minutes, for sure. It wasn’t until I made the subs that we made an impact on the game.
“First goal is a great strike, but the lead-up to it is embarrassing by us. The second one is just…I spoke at half-time about leadership on set-plays and doing better, and it’s a joke of a goal. And you give yourself a mountain to climb.
“We come here tonight and if I’m Sheffield Wednesday the last team you want to see is Millwall roll into town on the back of the manager’s comments on Sunday. But we didn’t do well enough, we didn’t compete well enough by our standards. Our use of ball in the first half was nothing short of childish.
“Individually and collectively we were really poor with the amount of chances we had in good areas to use the ball better and get an end product, and we didn’t.
“My words are quite scathing on the group and I’ve left them in no uncertain terms what my thoughts are. Those standards won’t be accepted, and we need to do better on the road.
“Too many individual players didn’t play well. Collectively we won the ball in good areas of the pitch and I can think of five or six times when we had an overload in the final third and didn’t get any end product, one shot in the first half from Jed Wallace. It’s not good enough.
“The last 20, 25 minutes we were a handful when we had the ball. You leave yourself a little bit open at the back when you’re chasing the game, I’ve got no problem with that, we saw that against Derby, when you’re 2-0 down it’s easy to play. And the boys did and we should have scored at the end.
“I’m disappointed tonight, really disappointed. I’m as disappointed in my group as I have been for a long, long time. They’re great lads, they’ll always have a right go and work hard and never let me down on effort and passion, but we’ve got good players, we’re a good team. We showed that last season, we’ve shown it this season.
“Tonight we didn’t show it for 70 minutes and I’m not prepared to accept that. We have to be better, the standards are high for them. If they don’t hit those standards regularly they don’t play, simple as that.”
Image: Millwall FC