RYAN Leonard admitted Millwall lacked attacking creativity in their defeat to Blackburn Rovers but added that the early injury to Tom Elliott was no excuse for the 2-0 loss.
The Lions had two shots on target through Leonard and Mahlon Romeo before Rovers struck twice in the last five minutes.
The introduction of Adam Armstrong decided the game in Rovers’ favour as the attacker exploited space twice on the left when his cross ricocheted in off Shaun Hutchinson before he added a second.
Leonard admitted the home side “didn’t give the fans enough to shout about”.
“I don’t think there was too much in the game, it was a bit scrappy,” he said. “A point would have been fair for both teams.
“They created a little bit more quality than us in the final third and they got the goals. We’re very disappointed with our own performance more than anything else, we didn’t produce enough quality in the final third to get ourselves over the line.
“I don’t think anyone played poorly but I don’t think anyone played really well. We didn’t give the fans enough to shout about, they create a brilliant atmosphere which we didn’t pay back enough.
“We didn’t create enough chances, didn’t get the ball in the box enough, didn’t create enough set-pieces. I think me and Tunni [Ryan Tunnicliffe] did alright in midfield, it was a tough game, very scrappy. There wasn’t enough quality from us.
“It’s always disappointing to concede goals at any time. It was quite an even game when they got the first goal, it was quite fortuitous. The second one we’ve gone all out with five minutes to go and they’ve broken and scored. To concede two goals as quickly as that was frustrating.”
Steve Morison came on for Elliott who dislocated his shoulder after landing awkwardly in the first minute.
Leonard said: “It’s not ideal, you pick the team and go through tactics and how you’re going to play. It’s not ideal to lose your number 9 striker 30 seconds in or whatever it was.
“It was a bit of a freak injury.
“But there are no excuses, we’ve got a striker [Morison] that’s played a lot of games and is good enough to be playing week-in, week-out.
“There are no excuses for us, it wasn’t quite good enough from us. A point was a fair result but we’ve conceded.
“They came and made it really difficult for us. The gaffer said before the game these have got some really good players. In their first season back in the Championship they’ve done really well so far.
“Of course a lot of credit goes to them, they’ve got some really good footballers and they made it very difficult. They pressed us so we couldn’t get into our stride.
“Coming to The Den is never easy but they went away with three points and to be fair they played their part and made it difficult. We have to give them full credit.
“There’s no rest, Middlesbrough away next game, it doesn’t get any easier. We have to stick together on the training pitch this week, come back in and give it a right go. We have to put this behind us and learn from it.
“We’ve lost the game and we need to learn how we can do better and take it up there and try and get a result.”
Leonard has been a regular this season for Millwall since his move from Sheffield United, and captained the side, but Neil Harris has more options in midfield with Shaun Williams back from injury.
Ben Thompson was also on the bench following a successful loan spell at Portsmouth, though his immediate future is still uncertain.
“It’s nice to have competition, that’s what helps you to progress and do better,” Leonard continued. “Obviously you know if you don’t perform in a game there are two players that are more than good enough to come into the team and do really well.
“Competition for places is always good in any position for any club, so for us to have two midfielders that are good enough to get straight into this team is obviously only good for the squad and in the long term good for us.
“I’ve only just met [the returning loan players] but they all seem really nice lads. They’ve definitely given a lift, they’ve done well on their loans and come back buzzing.
“Training has been really sharp and really good. The performance wasn’t what we wanted but they can only bring a positive aspect into the group.”
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