MAHLON Romeo gave an insight into Millwall’s hunger for the challenge when they faced the second half against top-of-the-table Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday with 10 men.
The Lions were a goal up through Matt Smith’s header but a player down after Jed Wallace’s red card for a late challenge on Kieran Lee.
Millwall allowed Wednesday to cross balls into their box but the hosts defended their area superbly to see out the win.
“Forty-three [minutes] plus the second half, we knew what was coming,” Romeo said. “To be honest, we were all raring to go at half-time, we were ready for the challenge, we invited it, we were hungry for it. We were hungry to hang on to the lead, and we did.
“The gaffer made it clear on the first day of pre-season what he wanted and this is it coming to life. Jed’s been sent off, I haven’t seen it, we need to get him out of the shit, to be honest.
“That’s what we did, we came together.
“There will be times in the season when it will be someone else we’ll need to get out [of trouble], come together as a team and get the job done.”
Neil Harris praised Mahlon Romeo for the way he dealt with winger Kadeem Harris.
“I’ve said in the past that we always do our analysis and leave no stone unturned, so I knew what I was coming up against,” Romeo continued. “I knew what Kadeem was like as a player, I’ve been watching him for a while.
“My job was just to try to make it as difficult as possible, I knew he was going to start wide and get the ball regardless and he was going to have chances to take me on one-v-one so I wanted to make it difficult.
“It’s all and well and good to do the analysis, but doing it on the pitch is a different thing. Analysis is a tool to try and help you, and it does, like [Saturday] it did because we won. It’s not always going to be that easy, that I can watch a video of someone and play well against them. It’s not always that easy. It’s a tool that helps.
“One time when I got beat [Saturday] and Kaz was able to put a decent cross in, he had time, Pearcey [Alex Pearce] was saying, ‘come on, get a bit tighter’. The next time I would have that in my head. Naturally I would have it but to have it as a team around you it helps you get going.”
Romeo also revealed there is a different feeling at the club this season.
“That [2017-18] season came more naturally because we were winning games,” Romeo said of Millwall’s first campaign back in the Championship when they finished eighth. “That’s the easy part. The hard part is to start that off, which is what I feel we are doing now.
“It’s up to us to keep it consistent. That’s the difference.
“This season for sure there’s a different feeling around the club, training-wise, camaraderie, it’s a different feeling to how it was last season.
“The work we’ve been doing with Ads [Adam Barrett], breaking off doing our own analysis, everything has clearly been helping.
“And having Pearcey in there as a voice in and around the changing room has definitely helped.”
Harris signed Jason McCarthy from Wycombe as competition for Romeo.
Romeo added: “Jason’s a proper good guy to have around. Even in training he keeps on my toes. The gaffer said, for everyone, you’ve got to fight for your place. He’s going to change [the team], regardless if we won, depending on the opposition.
“From an individual point of view I’ve just got to keep producing performances so I can stay in the team. It will be the same for him, and everyone else in the team.”
Millwall travel to west London on Wednesday night to take on Fulham, one of the favourites for the title.
“In this league, which is probably one of the best leagues in the planet, to be honest, as a club if you compare us to others in the league – if you want to look at wages or who has more money – then technically we are underdogs,” Romeo said.
“But it’s not a problem for us and it’s not something that affects us. If anything we thrive off it.
“They’re names that a lot of people will know. It’s another challenge, it’s going to be a different mindset. We’ve just got to go there and get the job done.
“Obviously everyone’s buzzing. One thing that’s important, which the gaffer has said, is when we win we don’t get too high and when we lose we don’t get too low. I think that will be something that will be important for us this season.”
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