Gary Rowett explains what changes he will make to the playing style at Millwall

GARY Rowett wants Millwall to have "a little bit more control" when they're in possession – without it affecting the team's identity.

Rowett is an admirer of the "work ethic and togetherness" of the side former boss Neil Harris.

Harris was criticised for a style of play that was often direct and relied heavily on set-pieces.

Rowett wants his side to be "flexible" but warned the results of the new focus might not happen instantly.

"For me it's about trying to subtly in our own way maintain the characteristics of what the club and the team have been good at: work ethic, that togetherness, that way of playing where everyone knows what their role is and they're very, very good at it," Rowett said.

"Sometimes you can't ask players to do what they can't do, but we feel that to get to where we want to be we have to take a little bit of a gamble and make some small adjustments and tweaks along the way to see if we can gain just a little bit more control at times, whether that's out of possession or in possession.

"I don't think the formation will be one that necessarily dictates that. You always have to be flexible when you're playing against teams that have a lot more options in their armoury than what we've got. There are players here that can play in certain areas in a different way.

"That's something I'm looking forward to doing. It might not happen instantly. There are going to be mistakes and things that don't work, but we really want to try and see if we can push the envelope a little bit and improve some of those attributes.

"But in building it it's about not losing what the club is all about and what the team is all about."

Rowett's first game in charge is against his former club Stoke at The Den on Saturday, and he believes the backing of the home fans is one of Millwall's "strongest points".

"It was always a difficult place to come," said Rowett, who was in charge of Derby when they drew 0-0 at The Den in January 2018.  "You knew what you were going to get because of the way the team played and how front-foot they were.

"You had to be wary of that first 10, 15 minutes when you knew it was going to be blood and thunder and hard to stop.

"It makes a huge, huge difference when the fans get behind you. At times you are going to have to lift the fans, and you appreciate that, but also it's so important to have fans that will lift the team at a moment in the game when they really need it.

"The players are aware of that. People don't realise how aware the players are, it does help.

"It was always a difficult place to come because of that atmosphere and we're hoping to create that atmosphere as many times as possible in the home games.

"You're looking for anything that's a strong point of a club. For me one of the strongest points of this club is that togetherness and spirit.

"If you haven't got huge finances to get to where you want quickly, you've got to have that togetherness and spirit. That's what this club has always had.

"Listen, if you're not playing well the fans are going to show that kind of passion, but in a more demanding way. You understand that but you've got to try to utilise it and see if we can lift them and give them a product that they really, really enjoy and want to get behind.

"That's for me to work really hard to do it. It might take a little bit of time, it might not happen instantly.

"It's one those types of clubs that you know [the backing of the fans] is there if you can start playing with consistency. It's a very powerful and important thing."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly