Millwall defender reveals manager's message before extra-time against Brighton

ALEX Pearce believes the international break comes at a good time for Millwall after an “emotional” FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton on Sunday.

Millwall led 2-0 in the 88th minute before conceding two late goals and then losing 5-4 on penalties after extra-time to miss out on a place in the last four.

Millwall have nine league games left and sit just a point above the relegation zone ahead of their visit to Leeds on March 30.

“It’s a good time to regroup, it has been an emotional day,” Pearce said after the Seagulls loss. “Now we can take our time, get some good training and recovery in and get ourselves mentally prepared for the Leeds game, which is what our focus will be now, going into the last nine games of the season.”

Millwall were within seconds of the FA Cup semi-finals, but conceded with the last action in normal time.

Pearce revealed boss Neil Harris’ message before the extra 30 minutes.

“We got in at full-time and the manager said to us, ‘look how far you have come against a Premier League side’. He gave us a real gee-up and I think we went out in the first half of extra-time and we were solid,” Pearce said.

“We quickly forgot about it. Initially, there is disappointment. But in a game like that there is no time to feel sorry for yourselves and the manager pointed that out to us. He said that to us and I don't think we did feel sorry for ourselves at all, I think we reacted really well, could have gone on and won it in extra-time.

“It was unfortunate when we didn't, but when it goes to penalties it’s a lottery. It’s anyone's game and unfortunately for us we came out on the wrong side.

“We always knew we were going to have to defend towards the end of the game, but we had no problem with doing that, and I thought we were comfortably going to see it out.

“It’s just unfortunate what has happened but, like I say, we reacted well to it and we were still well in the game.

“We will take the positives from this going into the nine games left this season. I think we’ve got five of those nine games at The Den, so we need to make this place a fortress and make sure no team comes here and has an easy game.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly