Millwall's Jed Wallace on recent frustrations – and his different role up front

JED Wallace admitted he could understand fans’ “frustration” recently – but believes Millwall are heading in the right direction after Wednesday’s win at Derby County.

The Lions’ first league victory since New Year’s Day moved them five points clear of the relegation zone, and Wallace said: “It’s a really positive changing room right now.”

Wallace played just off Lee Gregory and rounded off a counter-attack involving the striker and Shane Ferguson to give Millwall the win.

“It was a different role for me tonight and I knew that my biggest attribute playing in that position was my ability to run in behind, which is obviously different from what we have with T [Tom Elliott] and Moro [Steve Morison], they give us that focal point,” Wallace said. “With me and Gregs it's different. Greggers does so much, he has no right to win the first ball. He wins it, rides a tackle, knocks it off and the one person we want in that position is Fergie to pick me out and I’ve taken it on my left and obviously it’s gone in. I’m buzzing.

“The manager got it bang on. He said to me to get around [Tom] Huddlestone. Obviously, he's an unbelievable player with the ball, but without it I was able to use my legs against him. It didn't really happen that way because I couldn't get near him, to be honest. But I just stayed in there and it was a typical Millwall performance under Neil Harris. We rode the pressure and I can't really remember them having a chance. It's no surprise we are picking up points – whether it's wins or not – because Hutch [Shaun Hutchinson] and Coops [Jake Cooper] are showing the form of last season.

“In the big games away from home – Norwich, Middlesbrough – we have played so well in spells and thrown away points. I’ve never played in a season where we have thrown out more points. I’m sure all the teams down the bottom will say that, 'we have thrown away so many points'.

“The last three games Gregs missed a great chance against Rotherham, Coops at Swansea and we gave away a last-minute penalty at Middlesbrough. It sums us up really.

“It feels like such a relief to get over the line in a really, really difficult place to come. Hopefully now we can push up the table for the rest of the season.

“I can understand the fans’ frustration recently. We have not been playing the most fluent football we have ever played, and I understand they want to come and see goals. We were shipping too many goals and we had to get back to basics. Drawing 0-0, winning 1-0, that's what we've built our success on over the last couple of years and we have definitely got back to that. If we carry on this form until the end of the season then we will be where we want to end up at the end of the year.

“It’s a really positive changing room right now. We've been hurting a lot, because we've been throwing away so many points. And you're not hurting for 10 minutes. The lads have been down in the dumps a few times, for a couple of days. Because we care. I think the fans know we care. We got over the line today and it feels like a positive step in the right direction.

“It has been a frustrating season for the players, the fans, all of us. I said it to you six months ago, that last season was probably the worst, but best thing that could have happened to us. It just blew expectations so far out of proportion for what they should be at this club, for the budget we are working on and the squad we have got. We are probably six or seven points short from where we should be right now, so it's a game of catch-up to get there towards the end of the season.”

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly