Millwall's Thommo sets goal target – after being disappointed with 2018-19 haul

BEN Thompson wants Millwall to develop a “winning mentality” in pre-season – and revealed how many goals he is aiming for in 2019-20.

The Lions were back in action last Saturday as they defeated Concord Rangers 4-0 at Thames Road, with Thompson getting one of the goals after coming on as one of eleven substitutes at half-time.

Midfielder Thompson, 23, scored seven times last season for Portsmouth and Millwall, his best return in his five seasons as a professional.

He played in a more attacking role at Pompey and continued that on his return to the Championship with Neil Harris placing him off lone striker Lee Gregory.

Thompson’s double in a 2-0 win at Birmingham in March kept Millwall out of the relegation zone and gave them a crucial shot of confidence after a four-match losing streak.

“Ten goals for the season, that's my aim,” Thompson said. “Preferably in the league, ten league goals. Last season I aimed for ten and only got seven at Portsmouth and Millwall. So I need to get to that ten mark, double figures and go from there.

“Last year went to plan after I went out on loan and I came back and started playing regularly in the team and doing what I do best.

“This season I feel is a big season for me on a personal note. I need to play as many games as possible, get as many goals as possible. I’m really confident in myself at the moment on the pitch, in training I’m confident on the ball.

“I believe in myself and long may it continue. Hopefully this season will be a successful one.”

Thompson missed the last four games of last season after tearing his hamstring against Brentford, but has worked hard over the summer to start pre-season in the best possible shape.

He looked sharp against Concord, though he felt he could have scored more.

The midfielder showed his attacking prowess last season

That reflected the Lions’ overall performance, as Thompson explained the approach in these friendlies.

“You don't play football to lose games, you don't play just to take part,” Thompson continued. “Yes it’s a pre-season friendly, but you want that winning mentality in the group. The players all want to win.

“For me, I go into a five-aside and don't want to lose or give away a goal. That's what this club is about and what we need to build up into the season. We want to go into the season with a winning mentality and hopefully that will work for us.

He added: “It was brilliant, obviously, putting on your boots and shin pads and getting back out there is a great feeling, without any issues or any niggles or anything like that. I think obviously Tom Elliott in the second half has gone down and I don't know what is wrong with him, but other than that, it all went well for us and I’m just pleased to be back out there.

“This game is for minutes, you’re working your way back in, you feel rusty in the first few games, you’re always going to have a bit of rustiness. I should have tucked about three of four away and missed most of them. I got one, but that’s just the rustiness of the first game.

“It’s about building up and getting ready for the opening game [against Preston]. We don't want any injuries or anything like that, but it's not about pulling out of tackles, that's not the club we are and that's not the players we are. If there is a tackle there to be won, you win it, because you will get injured if you pull out. It’s about getting through, getting the minutes.”

Thompson played with new signings Matt Smith and Frank Fielding for the first time last weekend.

“They’re great lads, both of them are top lads,” Thompson said. “They’ve come in and probably felt really welcomed.

“We’ve got a great set of lads in the changing room and they have fit in well so far and they will slowly get more comfortable with us and will be a big part of the team this season.

“There should be more people coming through the door, we don't know who and when, but when it does happen it’s a great group of lads to come into and it's a great team to work and play for.

“It is exciting times ahead for the club.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly