'You're fighting for your livelihood.' Millwall's Williams on relegation threat – and where Lions need to improve

SHAUN Williams revealed how much is at stake in a relegation battle – and the financial hit players could take in the event of going down.

Williams, 32, has been involved in three relegation battles with Millwall, coming out on the right side twice.

The Lions’ 0-0 draw against Stoke on Saturday combined with Rotherham’s 2-1 defeat at West Brom ensured Championship safety with two games left.

Williams played against Bournemouth on the last day in 2014 when Millwall needed a win to guarantee staying up. Martyn Woolford scored the only goal but the Lions would have survived anyway with results elsewhere.

The following season Neil Harris was appointed in March after the sacking of Ian Holloway, but Millwall went down after – ironically – Rotherham won their penultimate game.

Williams spoke after the draw with the Potters when, with the Millers drawing 0-0 at half-time at the Hawthorns, Millwall’s Championship future this season was still uncertain.

He was asked about previous relegation scraps.

He said: “You’re fighting for your livelihood. Everyone was looking at a 50 per cent pay cut. If you want to continue to be on what you’re on, you best well show it.”

He also responded to a question whether he would be keeping up to date with the Millers’ game against the Baggies. “I’ll just wait until it finishes to have a look,” he responded. “ I couldn’t do with the drama of looking at it.”

After finishing eighth last season, Millwall began this campaign positively with two draws and a win in their first three games, but six defeats in the next seven dragged them into a relegation battle until the outcome was decided on Saturday.

“I think our objective at the start of the season was to get to 50 points as quickly as possible,” Williams continued.

“Unfortunately not like last season, where we did it quite early and had a good run. In the division we’re probably where we’re meant to be money-wise.

“Maybe a lack of quality with the final ball and taking chances has been our story this season. The number of chances we have created, we probably haven’t got enough goals from them. So it’s something to work on.”

Williams didn’t feel nerves played a part at the weekend as Millwall struggled in the first half against Nathan Jones’ side.

“Personally I didn’t but maybe there was, I don’t know. On a personal level, I wasn’t [nervous],” he said.

“The dressing room we’ve got is quite focused on the job at hand. It’s only us that can affect it. When it’s going well and the crowd are behind us it is fantastic – but we didn’t feel under pressure today.

“[It was] hard-working but lacking end product, maybe. We might have nicked it at the end but other than that we didn’t create many chances.

“We stuck at it and got a clean sheet against a good side.

“I enjoyed it. I’ve been out since the start of March. I was ready for the task [but] I kind of blew up towards the end.”

Lee Gregory could have made the Rotherham result at West Brom irrelevant if he had scored late on against Stoke rather than blasting over, but Williams didn’t blame the striker.

“He’s not the only one. We’ve had plenty of chances over the course of the season to get goals. That chance there is not going to be the defining moment.

“He’s fine. He’ll just keep getting in that position and hopefully take the next one.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly