'Would have been reckless' – Millwall boss explains selection decision ahead of Leeds United clash

GARY Rowett admitted the prospect of playing Leeds United next Tuesday and the energy they will need against Marcelo Bielsa’s side impacted his team selection against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Lions are out of the FA Cup after losing 2-0 to the Blades. Mo Besic and Oliver Norwood scored second-half goals to send Chris Wilder’s side into the fifth round.

Rowett handed right-back James Brown a full home debut, while Billy Mitchell started in midfield.

Millwall had an early chance to take the lead through Aiden O’Brien, but Dean Henderson saved.

The Lions rarely threatened after that as the top-flight side scored twice in the second half.

“I think it was a fair result, I don’t think there was anything in it for the first 60 minutes,” Rowett said. “We had one chance with Aiden, they had one off the line.

“Their athleticism and running just pinned us back at times. With two young players in the team I thought we acquitted ourselves reasonably well.

“We just lacked a bit of quality, we huffed and puffed rather than try to guide it into areas with a bit more composure.

“We had to try and make the game a bit of a scrap. A team like Sheffield United come to The Den – you hope a Premier League side comes with a poor mentality and doesn’t want to be there – but you know with a Chris Wilder side you’re going to get a team with a brilliant mentality.

“The difference then comes down to a bit of quality. We took a bit of a gamble today, like a lot of teams will do. We’re playing Leeds on Tuesday night, Leeds have had 10 days break. It’s not an easy place to go and I thought it would be a little bit reckless not to leave us with some energy up there to try to perform.

“I thought Billy Mitchell was excellent. Young Browny on his first start at home acquitted himself really well, particularly defensively.

“There were some bright sparks but overall I was a little bit disappointed we couldn’t make more of a game of it.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly