NEIL Harris admitted Millwall’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa combined with having to wait to see if other results would go their way left him “dejected”.
Harris’ mood would have been lifted by Rotherham’s 3-1 defeat to Birmingham later on Monday, which keeps the gap between the sides to three points. The Lions have a game in hand against Bristol City next week.
Jonathan Kodjia scored the only goal at Villa Park to give his side a 10th straight win – a club record.
Harris felt Millwall could have opened the scoring when Alex Pearce’s nod-down from a first-half corner was scrambled to safety.
“First and foremost, we’ve lost the game so I’m a little bit dejected at this moment, at this stage of the season, sitting here waiting to learn of results elsewhere,” Harris said.
“I thought Villa, as you would expect from the home team, nine wins in a row, started the game really well and were on the front foot and put us under a little bit of pressure. But then we grew into the game and I think we dominated the game for the next 15 to 20 minutes.
“We should have scored, the corner comes in, we get the first contact. After Brentford we talked about anticipation in the box. We have to do better in the penalty area. We should have had our noses in front and then it would have been a different game.
“My real two gripes about the afternoon was firstly, the goal is poor by us, make no bones about that. We have a throw-in, we lose the first contact, miss the second ball, the tackle and then we open up against Villa who pick the right passes, have the right movement and then the right end product.
“It was avoidable, so it’s frustrating. Then the subs we made didn’t have the impact we’d hoped for. As we chased the game before the end we were always going to give chances away.”
Millwall stopper David Martin made a number of impressive saves to keep his side within touching distance of Villa, though the visitors never really looked like they would grab an equaliser.
“I’m delighted with my goalkeeper today,” Harris continued. “I certainly credit my players with the performance, it’s not an easy place to come at the moment. It’s never an easy place to come but now they’ve won 10 in a row.
“They’ve got top, top players who should be playing at the next level, will be playing at the next level. Trying to mark [Jack] Grealish and [John] McGinn, it’s a tough afternoon for my midfield players.
“The plan was to stay in the game. I’m dejected because it’s a poor goal to give away, [after] the good shape we had, the organisation pattern was very good without the ball. We got into some really good areas again.
“It should have been 0-0 going into the 90th minute, not 1-0 down. We wouldn’t have had to open up. But credit to Aston Villa – 10 wins in a row at any level is a terrific achievement.”
Image: Millwall FC