Millwall boss discusses team selection against Preston – and social media reaction

NEIL Harris admitted Millwall were “terrible” in the first half of their 3-1 defeat against Preston and said some of his side’s defending was “embarrassing”.

Alex Neil’s side tore Millwall apart before the break at The Den on Saturday, and could have scored more than the three goals they got through Andrew Hughes, Tom Clarke and Sean Maguire before the 27th minute.

Substitute Ben Thompson pulled a goal back in the 67th minute but Harris said “the damage was already done”.

“It couldn’t have been worse, could it? Firstly, Preston were good today. Alex really got them at it,” Harris said.

“First two goals we didn’t do our jobs, simple as that. Any walk of life, the job you’re paid to do you have to do it. We didn’t do that first half.

“Two goals from set-pieces, really poor – the second one is embarrassing. Players just didn’t do what they were supposed to do.

“The third goal it was a great ball, great finish. It was just the way it was going.

“We didn’t get out of the traps, didn’t get going, weren’t at the races, didn’t get first balls, second balls – couldn’t get near the ball.

“It was hugely frustrating.

“The second half was better. A change of personnel made us better. There was a little reminder at half-time what was expected of them playing for this club.

“I thought we were better than Preston second half but you can’t give teams two-, three-goal head starts, it’s too good a division. I praise my players for their second-half performance but not the first, it was terrible.”

Harris made two substitutions at half-time, Shane Ferguson and Steve Morison coming on for Murray Wallace and Tom Elliott.

Harris said: “You try and be calm because the damage was done already. I pointed out a few areas where I thought we could improve, maybe a little bit louder than normal.

“It’s about preparing for the second half, getting your message across. There were a couple of things I wanted to get off my chest but then it’s about organisation. Change in personnel, change in shape, you have to let the players know what’s expected and what they need to do.

“I’m pleased second half they took it on board and went out and performed as they should have done from the first minute.

“All three [substitutes] made an impact. No major shakes with Murray and Tom coming off, if I felt it was safe enough to make the third at half-time I would have done. But if I’d had five or six changes to make I’d have made them all. That’s how disappointed I was with the group.

“Second half was better, Ben got his goal. I was really pleased with him when he came on. All action and he showed some quality as well.”

Harris had made one change to the side that defeated Derby 1-0 last Wednesday, Elliott replacing Ferguson.

Harris added: “Looking back now, hindsight says I got the team wrong. No problem, I should have made more changes.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, that’s why we have social media, to remind me of that.

“I have to get it right for Tuesday now.”

Harris was asked if fans were too quick to forget his side's wins. He responded: “I don’t go on social media, so that’s what I think of social media.

“Do I think there’s short-termism in football? Well I think the only person who should have an opinion, fan-wise, is anyone that comes to the game. If not, don’t have an opinion.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly