EFL

Neil Harris hails ‘really positive’ display as Millwall enjoy back-to-back wins

By Sports Desk March 02, 2024

Neil Harris hailed his Millwall players for displaying the passion he believes the club is built on as they edged past Watford 1-0.

Harris left Cambridge at the end of February to return to The Den for his second spell in charge, and has since steered the Lions to back-to-back wins to keep them above the relegation zone.

Earlier in the week, Harris had spoken about “bringing the Millwall-ness back” to the club, and he felt he saw glimpses of that as Zian Flemming’s early free-kick sealed the three points.

“The football club belongs to the fanbase, so what do they want to see from their team?” said Harris.

“Well, the good teams I’ve played in and the good teams I’ve managed they had heart, they had character, they had passion, desire.

“We could challenge, we could run and we had some ability as well, and that’s all the fans want to see.

“It’s my job to teach this group of players what a Millwall team looks like and today, we had it in so many ways. We didn’t take care of the ball well enough at times, we lacked a little bit of confidence and belief here at The Den that we showed at Southampton with the ball.

“So, that’s something that we’ve got to drip feed into the players, but as in spirit and character and atmosphere in the stadium, that was really, really positive.”

The good feeling was sparked just three minutes in when Flemming’s deflected free-kick found the bottom corner despite Watford goalkeeper Ben Hamer getting hands to it.

Hamer was almost left red-faced for a second time when he allowed a long ball to drift past him, but he breathed a sigh of relief when Duncan Watmore’s effort from a narrow angle hit the post.

The Hornets had more possession in a second half sorely lacking in quality, but a long-range shot over by Ismael Kone and a simple save by Matija Sarkic from Jake Livermore was the best they
could muster.

It meant a fifth defeat in six league games that drew an angry reaction from their supporters after the final whistle and left the visitors in danger of being dragged into the scramble for survival.

Watford boss Valerien Ismael said: “I think throughout the 90 minutes we were not intimidated by the environment and that we were solid.

“We raised the performance from last week, we were unlucky from a deflected free-kick, we were one goal down.

“The only thing we said was just to stand the first 15-20 minutes, the most powerful energy from the game will be there, with the win last week, with the new manager.

“We were prepared for that but, unfortunately, we conceded exactly the goal there, but after that I didn’t think Millwall had the chance to score.

“We were under control, we were focused on ourselves and the performance in this kind of away game was good, but it doesn’t help us a lot at the moment.

“We need to win games, especially in this period of the season, and when you come on a run like this, it makes it difficult for the players.”

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