Millwall manager on Lions' courage, Jed brilliance, VAR and why O'Brien deserved goal

MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett said his side were too “wasteful” against Nottingham Forest on Friday night – but praised their courage for rescuing a point in injury-time.

Shaun Williams nodded home Jed Wallace’s corner to give Millwall a 14th-minute lead but Lewis Grabban came off the bench to score twice in the second half, his second coming with two minutes left.

But another substitute, Aiden O’Brien, followed up Williams’ shot that was saved by Brice Samba to tap in his second goal of the season.

Millwall dominated the first half but it was a completely different story after the break as Grabban almost had the final say against his former club.

“Any Championship game when you’re 2-1 down with four minutes to go I think you’d argue it’s a reasonable result,” Rowett said.

“The first half performance was excellent, and they paid us a massive compliment by changing their shape and playing more physically to combat us.

“They left their best two players on the bench and you knew they were going to try to keep it fairly tight and then try to change the game as it opened up late on.

[They left] Grabban and [Joe] Lolley on the bench and you saw the impact they had when they came on, [Albert] Adomah as well.

“I thought first half we were great, there was some absolutely brilliant play, we attacked with a lot of incisiveness and it was just that last little bit. We keep getting into the final third and sometimes we just lack that tiny little bit of quality, which I can understand. It’s acceptable because we haven’t got the top-class players that other clubs have.

“Nevertheless we were wasteful and our set-piece delivery was unusually wasteful. We scored with a good one but we had seven or eight where we hit the first man.

“I was disappointed that we were only 1-0 up in the first half such was our dominance. You know Forest have good players and they’re going to have a good spell at some point.

“They made a change to their formation and showed what a quality side they are, that’s why they’re up the table.

“The first goal was disappointing. If they’re going to open you up they open you up with great quality but don’t concede from a set-piece. That was really disappointing for us, that’s twice in two weeks running we’ve conceded from a set-piece. It’s not like us.”

Wallace gave the ball away in the lead-up to Forest’s second.

Rowett added: “The second goal came after we changed shape a little bit to get Jed in the middle. He knows that you can’t over-play in that area, take those risks in that area.

“His first-half display as absolutely brilliant, it’s as good a 45 minutes as I’ve seen anyone in the Championship play. I’ve got to accept that occasionally he might make some of those decisions, trying to do the right thing, and I don’t want to stifle his creativity.

“He’s got to get better at when and where he does it, but I’ve got to accept it a little bit because of his brilliance up the pitch.

“If the Sky angles are right there’s a slight debate whether [Ameobi’s] leg is offside. But I don’t think I’ll be calling for VAR soon after recent events.

“We’ve had two cleared off the line and Jake Cooper’s had as clear a chance as you’re ever going to see in the Championship.

“At 2-1 I sat down, I thought it was over. But the players don’t do that, they keep going and fighting to the end. I thought they showed brilliant courage to get something out of the game in the end.

“Aiden O’Brien’s trained really well, we’ve had great impact off the bench from players. Someone like him who’s not played much football, who’s not had many opportunities, could easily have not had that impact.

“But he deserved it because he’s trained really, really well.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly