NEIL Harris believes Millwall are already being written off this season – but said the Lions won’t “shy away” from the challenge of proving people wrong.
Millwall are currently fourth favourites for relegation from the Championship, with only Reading, Charlton and Barnsley shorter odds for the drop.
It was a different story last August when after a good transfer window, before the sale of George Saville to Middlesbrough, there was a feeling that they could build on their eighth-place finish.
But the Lions finished 21st, only ensuring their place in the division for this season after the second-last game.
“I loved it last summer, the excitement around it and the buzz. The disappointment last year was only based on poor form, poor results by us as a group and individuals as well,” Harris said.
“That’s because the standards had been set so high we wanted it again. It was three years of building success, almost unrivalled success as a club, it had only happened a couple of times in the past. We set the world alight and people started taking note and then we dipped again.
“Well if we can rise the next three years I’ll be delighted.
“I said to the players that we’ll be better than last year, 100 per cent we’ll be better. We will get good characters in, good players in. I am clear on how I want to play and what I want to do and how adaptable I want to be.
“I know what good players I’ve got. Sometimes that’s lost on people, when it’s a little bit negative, [people say], ‘last year we weren’t as good, we’ve lost some players and haven’t replaced them yet’.
“But look at what we have got. Mahlon Romeo, Jake Cooper, Jed Wallace, Ben Thompson, four young players 24 and under who are top, top Championship players.
“We’ve got players coming back in Murray [Wallace] who will show his quality, Lenny [Ryan Leonard] will get better and is a good age. [Tom] Bradshaw is a good age, Fergie [Shane Ferguson] got better as the season went on. Apologies for missing other people out, but we’ve got really good players.
“We just need to add quality to that.
“Realism this year? Yeah, I think there will be. We’ll be back to being the underdog, people are writing us off already.
“People were writing us off towards the end of last season when we were on a bad run and thought we were going to slip into relegation. We didn’t, we stood strong and got over the line by hook or by crook.
“That’s what we have to do at this club. We’re certainly up for the challenge of proving people wrong. We’ll never shy away from that challenge.”
Image: Millwall FC