Boss sees positives despite Millwall loss at Hull – and potential injury problems

NEIL Harris insisted there were positives to take from Millwall’s defeat at Hull City despite the concession of “two really poor goals” and another injury to a full-back that could leave the defence depleted for the visit of Norwich to The Den on Saturday.

Murray Wallace was forced off after he suffered knee and ankle damage blocking a cross moments before Jarrod Bowen gave Hull an eighth-minute lead from Markus Henriksen’s shot.

Millwall equalised through Shaun Hutchinson in the 34th minute but Marc Pugh was left free in the box to fire in what proved to be the hosts’ winner three minutes before the break.

“Two really poor goals to give away. Where I’m frustrated is we looked so solid and reliable for a couple of months, but Preston first half hour and then tonight we give poor goals away,” Harris said.

“The first one is good play but the boy hits a shot and it’s going straight into Jordan [Archer's] hands, he’s right behind it, and it hits Jarrod Bowen and flies in the net. It’s bad luck.

“We respond to losing Murray and losing the goal and build slowly to get into the game. Hull were better than us for half an hour but then we did really well, played really good football, scored a goal, looked a threat on the counter-attack. Steve Morison won every header, we looked dangerous and the fans have turned on their team.

“Then we give a debacle of a second goal away. I can analyse the second goal and I won’t bore you with all the facts but we made three or four basic errors leading up to it. At the end of the day the boy controls the ball eight yards from our goal and puts it in the net. That can’t happen at this level.

“So I just reminded the players what we’re good at. Second half again, strong performance, we created chance after chance but weren’t clinical enough. I think the shot count will be in our favour but we weren’t clinical enough.

“Their keeper makes a couple of good saves, our anticipation in and around the penalty area on second balls wasn’t quite good enough at times.

“It was a strong performance in so many ways, there are loads of positives to take from it apart from we got zero points out of it.”

Millwall were already without full-backs Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith and illness caused Mahlon Romeo to miss the fixture. Harris started midfielder Ryan Leonard at right-back.

Wallace’s withdrawal forced Harris to further reorganise the side, Shane Ferguson moving to left-back, Jed Wallace dropping to the left wing and Morison partnering Lee Gregory up front.

“It’s unfortunate,” Harris said. “I thought both full-backs did really well. Lenny grew into it, got better after not playing there for a long time, many years, actually. But I trust him, I trust him on the pitch and in that position.

“Fergie’s played international football at left-back, but again not played there for a long time, only coming on in games and bits.

“I was really pleased with how they applied themselves and how they played. Sometimes these things happen. Mahlon wasn’t well and Macca isn’t up to speed. Mezza wasn’t with us, Murray goes off injured. It’s just one of those things, but the team adapted and found a way. It was a real positive for us.”

Millwall will assess Wallace's injury later this week. Harris added: "It doesn't look a good injury. He certainly looks doubtful for the weekend. He got caught in a challenge leading up to the first goal – knee and ankle have both locked – but I don't know the extent of the damage.

"What I do know is Murray is as tough a player as someone like Dave Livermore was when he put on a Millwall shirt. There is no tougher than Murray, so for him come off as he did, it doesn’t look good."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly