Millwall's Harris hails fans as new signings experience 'phenomenal atmosphere' in Den win

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris said there was a “different feel” at The Den on Saturday as Millwall opened up their 2019-20 Championship campaign with a 1-0 win over Preston.

Jed Wallace volleyed in Connor Mahoney’s cross in front of a 14,923 crowd in SE16, 1,232 from Preston.

There was almost a cup feel at the end of the contest as Millwall confidently kept their opponents out to claim three points, backed by the vociferous home support.

Frank Fielding, Mahoney and Matt Smith made their full debuts. Bartosz Bialkowski came on in the first half for the injured Fielding.

“There was a different feel today, I’ve got a different group of lads,” Harris said. “What was special today was the group that’s building in that changing room got to play in and witness – as the subs did and Jason McCarthy and Jayson Molumby who weren’t in the squad – that atmosphere. That was quite phenomenal.

“It surprised me but it was great and I was delighted for the fans. We finished last season with disappointment, relief in the end, but over the course of the summer the excitement has grown because of the acquisitions that we’ve made. Today the fans turned up, it was a huge gate, because they’re excited again.

“We’ve got to try and retain that if we can. We’re not going to win every week. I said to the players we don’t get too high when we win or too low when we lose. It’s the same for everyone in the stadium, we can’t do that at this club.”

Harris was asked if he felt more pressure before kick-off following a difficult 2018-19 campaign.

He said: “I was excited, definitely. I get nervous before games because I care. It’s different when you’re a player because you just take care of yourself and go and play. When you manage you worry about your team and everyone’s reaction.

“I see the lads every day and what they’ve brought so far, how good they’ve been and the standards they’ve set. You just hope they can put it into practice the first game and now the challenge to them is to put it into practice next week at West Brom.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly