‘Breath of fresh air’ – Experienced Millwall man on impact of new head coach Joe Edwards

Jake Cooper believes that Joe Edwards’ first few training sessions have been a “breath of fresh air” for him and his Millwall team-mates.

The Lions have had just three sessions under their new head coach but the Lions vice captain has been very impressed by what he has seen from the former England U20 coach.

Speaking after Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, Cooper said “We came here with the most important goal of first and foremost getting three points and we’ve done that in fantastic fashion in the end. Scored some great goals and played very well as a team. We are very happy with the result.”

Edwards had said during the week that he wants to change Millwall’s style of play in a gradual manner and there were elements of that in play at the weekend with both Cooper and Wes Harding playing the ball out of defence and into midfield.

“We’ve worked on it since the new gaffer came in,” said Cooper. “He’s set that as his target. Obviously it’s going to take time, we know that. It’s not going to happen overnight. We’ve only had three sessions with the new gaffer but we set up to do that and we did that a bit more today than we have in previous seasons and perhaps we can keep improving on that.”

The former Reading defender admitted the side now feels settled following Edwards’ appointment.

“It’s the settled vibes it gives to the group,” said Cooper. “We know the club is settled now. We can all get behind the new manager and play the way he wants and build going forward. It has relaxed everyone. We worked on the way we wanted to play, so to pull it off like we did today was remarkable really.

“He (Edwards) is a great guy and Andy (Myers, assistant head coach) as well, they seem really enthusiastic, they are really happy to be in the job and to help us out. We’ve been working on just ourselves really. We didn’t really touch too much on Sheffield Wednesday until yesterday [Friday]. It’s just been about us and how our players can get better in their positions. It’s been like a breath of fresh air.”

The Lions demonstrated how clinical they can be as they recorded their biggest away win in the Championship since October 2001 but also showed resilience to keep a well-earned clean sheet.

Cooper said. “We had to dig in at times, we knew they’d have chances. They’ve got good players and a new manager and a new style themselves, so we knew that would happen but we stood strong. Bart made some good saves and we made some good blocks just to get that clean sheet, which is good to have back for the defenders because that’s something we’ve lacked a bit in recent weeks.”

There was also big praise for the Lions fans who travelled in their numbers to Hillsborough.

“The fans were amazing,” said Cooper. “There’s been issues with travel and train strikes and things like that, so for them all to be up here today to support us, we heard them all game.

“They were fantastic – so a big thanks to them, we really appreciate it.”

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