Millwall boss on what he wants to see from his players against former club Birmingham

GARY Rowett believes it's more important Millwall are relaxed and focused on what they need to do to beat Birmingham rather than having the pressure emphasised to them in arguably the most important week of the season.

Rowett wants to see a display of "energy, aggressiveness and forcefulness" against Blues that was absent in the 1-0 defeat to Wigan.

The Lions realistically need to get at least four points from the clash against Pep Clotet's Birmingham and then the game against Bristol City on Saturday to not see their play-off hopes slip away.

"You try to relax them and make them aware of what we need to do to put good performances in," Rowett said. "I think they know it's a must-win game.

"They maybe felt a bit that Saturday was a must-win game, after beating Preston and going to Wigan, with where Wigan are in the league. Sometimes that puts added pressure on and makes players play with more fear and tension, which isn't good.

"At the same time we have to understand that all our performances – whether we've played 4-2-3-1 at home and performed really well, 5-2-3 at home and performed really well – was not down to the system but to the intensity we played at. It was the energy and the aggression.

"You can call a game a 'must-win game', but ultimately you shouldn't put any more effort into a must-win game than you would in a game we want to win anyway.

"It's perhaps not putting too much pressure on the players, but making them understand that when you go to a place like Wigan and don't perform with the same energy and aggressiveness and forcefulness in terms of how you attack, then any game is going to be hard regardless of whether it's must-win or not."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly