Millwall's Cooper addresses the lack of goals – and what Lions expect at AFC Wimbledon

JAKE Cooper isn’t worried about Millwall’s lack of goals from open play – and believes their newfound defensive resilience will be the platform for more victories this season.  

The Lions have scored in open play in just two games out of their last 11 and are without a goal in three league fixtures. But Neil Harris’ side have kept four clean sheets in their last eight Championship games after just one in their first 14.

Millwall couldn’t break down Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, the 0-0 draw leaving them just three points above the relegation zone.

Cooper dismissed concerns about the team’s attack.

“I don’t think it’s a worry. We’re stopping goals at the other end and we always create chances so we’re definitely due a couple,” Cooper said.

“You can sense the edginess after the start of the season when we conceded a lot of late goals. We showed that we can be steady at the end.

“We know going forward if we nick a goal, get that first goal and hang on, we feel we can keep more clean sheets.

“[Wednesday] are a good side, Bruce has come in and done well and they’ve kept a lot of clean sheets. You could see how well they defended and made it tough for us. We did well ourselves to keep a clean sheet in the end.

“It was pretty even I would say. The first half I thought we dominated them. There weren’t too many clear-cut chances throughout the game, whoever was going to score I think was going to win the game. We just managed to cancel each other out in the end.”

The Lions break from the league this weekend for the short trip to AFC Wimbledon in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Millwall are aiming for a repeat of 2017 when they reached the last eight where they played Tottenham.

“It’ll be massive for this club if we can get to the quarter-final again,” Cooper continued.

“We’re fully expecting a tough game, it’s going to be physical and a battle and we’re going to have to compete with a good Wimbledon team. We know they’re going to be on it. It’s a massive game for that club, reaching the quarter-final would be massive for them.

“We need to go and impose ourselves and hopefully get through to the next round.

“The manager said it in the dressing room [on Tuesday], the club have proven they can manage cup and league at the same time for the last few years. A couple of years ago when we got promoted we had that great cup run within that and back when the manager was a player they had a great cup run. If we can get bigger games and get confidence from them that’s key for us.

“We all felt the attention after the Everton game and it was great for us. The key thing is winning games and getting that winning mentality back in the group. If we can do that starting on Saturday then we can kick on the league campaign.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly