“JUST to correct you, they won’t doubt my hard work, they know how hard I work for their club.”
Neil Harris was responding to a question from a journalist after seeing his injury-hit side battle back from a goal down to earn a point at Bristol City on Sunday.
If there are some questions around how this season will pan out for Millwall after a difficult first few months, their work ethic isn’t one of them.
After going into the game without first-choice strike pair Lee Gregory and Tom Elliott, Aiden O’Brien was stretchered off and then Shaun Williams was injured in the act of scoring the equaliser at Ashton Gate.
Millwall are yet to win away this season, and despite the point are still in the Championship’s bottom three on goal difference.
They have suffered the type of setbacks this campaign that they avoided when they finished eighth in 2017-18.
After answering questions about their comeback and their current injury problems, Harris was then asked: “Do you have a message for the Millwall fans that might be doubting your hard work at the moment, trying to get the club moving in the right direction?”
Harris responded: “Just to correct you, they won’t doubt my hard work, they know how hard I work for their club.”
He added: "Will people challenge me and my players because we have not performed? Yeah, too right, and we wouldn’t expect anything different.
“My record speaks for itself, over a period of time, certainly the second half of the season. And I think you saw from the performance of my players today, it shows that we are a very tight-knit group.
"What’s clear – and I have put it on record many times – is that if individually we don’t play to our best then we don’t match teams at this level. And that’s just the reality, because other teams have got good players.
"I feel I have got good players, but I feel we have to be at our best to match teams, and players like Shaun Hutchinson today was at his very, very best – and that’s the standards I expect."
Jed Wallace moved up front to partner Steve Morison after O’Brien went off.
Harris said: "Jed has got bags of energy. He is a hugely talented player, we could probably play him anywhere and he would get on with it.
"So I was really pleased for him. Maybe the dimension of the game changed a little bit when Jed went a little bit higher. He got on the ball a little bit more in threatening areas."
Millwall face Hull at The Den next Saturday. Nigel Adkins’ Tigers are two points ahead of the Lions in the Championship table.
"It’s not make or break for the season, obviously, because it’s still early days,” Harris said. “But it’s a really important game and, the biggest thing of all, it’s important because, forget league positions, for me it’s important because we weren’t good enough at The Den against Birmingham.
"So I expect a performance and a reaction from my players to show our fans that we are back at it.
"Barring Sheffield United, who were better than us at The Den, Birmingham are the only [other] team that has come and been better than us. Other games we have been outstanding – we have just conceded too many late goals.
"So I expect a performance Saturday and I really look forward to it."
Image: Millwall FC