MAHLON Romeo was able to put the Championship defeat to West Brom last weekend in perspective – and hopes the presence of Sheffield United at The Den this Saturday can spark a revival.
The Lions have defeated the Blades the three times they’ve met in Bermondsey under Neil Harris, and Chris Wilder’s side seem to bring out the best in Romeo.
He was being kept out of the team by Conor McLaughlin last season before the Northern Ireland defender picked up a suspension giving Romeo his chance on December 2.
And he grabbed it, putting Millwall 2-1 up in the 66th minute before they ran out 3-1 winners to end a six-game winless league run. It was a pivotal moment in the season, the game was in the balance, and after the victory the Lions lost just four more times in the league.
In contrast, Millwall have lost five of their last six Championship games, and won only one league game all season, a 2-1 victory over Derby County a month ago.
But there were signs last weekend that Millwall are not far off turning their form around.
“Like the manager said, it’s tough the way things are going right now but unfortunately that’s the way it is sometimes. We played well and created chances,” Romeo said.
“The way we played in the first half you wouldn’t have thought that they had been a Premier League side for a long time with still a lot of the same players. We did ourselves justice and we can take the positives from it.
“I enjoyed playing in a really good stadium and the support we got was fantastic. We could hear them the whole game. They’re like that every week, to be fair, it’s great credit to them.”
Although Romeo has scored just two league goals in 83 league games for Millwall, he has shown that when he has a shooting chance he can be clinical.
Last season’s strike against United came after he was moved into a wing-back position, giving him more freedom to get forward. He showed an attacker’s instincts to spot the space in front of him before he gathered Lee Gregory’s through-ball to finish past Jamal Blackman.
But he insisted he didn’t want people “to get any ideas” that he could perform further up the pitch and be a regular goal threat, having spent his entire professional career as a defender.
“Sheffield is always a good fixture and we’re looking forward to being back at The Den,” he said. “I remember my goal well. I was in a position where I was screaming for the ball. I thought ‘he has to pass it’ and luckily he saw the run I made and it was a perfect pass.
“I think most people played in different positions when they were younger, I dabbled with the right of midfield and as a striker at times when I was really young. I don’t want anyone to get any ideas, though I’m sure if we [defenders] joined in with shooting practice in training we’d give the strikers a good run for their money.”
With Lions boss Neil Harris admitting he still hasn’t settled on his best starting XI, Romeo is currently the player in possession of the right-back shirt.
Romeo, 23, has been at fault for goals conceded against Middlesbrough and Swansea at The Den this season, but he stressed the solution is to learn from errors and listen to the boss.
“The manager has asked us to keep standards high, that’s what we’ve got to be doing,” he said. “If everyone, including me, can keep their standards high, then we’ll start doing well.
“What you do is look back and try to learn from mistakes. We’ll all be up for this weekend and will be excited to play at The Den in front of those fans. I’m sure it will be a big crowd.
“What I think we all understand here is that if we do put a few results together it will give us confidence and we will get up that table.
“The spirit is still high here. When we get going we’re confident we’ll go on a run. We’ve shown we are capable of that the last couple of years.”
Image: Millwall FC