‘I’m not disappointed’ – Millwall boss on why he didn’t want Leeds to be relegated to Championship

Millwall supporters were left disappointed that Leeds United avoided the Premier League drop on the final day of the campaign, denying a renewal of the rivalry between the two clubs next season. But Lions manager Gary Rowett did not feel the same way.

The Yorkshire club needed to better Burnley’s result on Sunday to secure survival.

Leeds won 2-1 at Brentford with Jack Harrison scoring a 90th-minute winner.

The Clarets lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle to seal the end of their six-season stay in the top flight.

There is a hostility between the fanbases of Millwall and Leeds which has led to some spicy encounters on the pitch.

The Lions did the double over United in the 2017-18 campaign, Jed Wallace with a late winner in a topsy-turvy 4-3 at Elland Road in January.

“I’m not disappointed at Leeds not being in the Championship,” said Rowett. “It is one of the places which is very difficult to go and play football, it’s a great atmosphere.

“I appreciate it is a brilliant away day and the rivalry is strong between the fans, but as a manager you look at the clubs you think will be really, really strong next season.

“It can be hard to tell, but Everton is another one I didn’t want to come down because you presume they would just bounce straight back up quite comfortably.

“All those clubs coming out of the Premier League have parachute payments behind them and Premier League squads.”

Millwall and QPR will be the only London clubs in the Championship next season after Fulham clinched an instant return. There are plenty of long trips north with Sunderland, Rotherham and Wigan coming up from League One.

Norwich and Watford – who have both been yo-yo clubs in recent seasons – will look to mount another challenge.

“I think the fans being in the grounds will play a huge part because in previous years it had been quite difficult [playing behind closed doors due to the Covid pandemic],” said Rowett.

“In some ways it was easier for them to play with less pressure and make that step to bounce straight back.

“Sunderland are a huge club in any division, it’s good to see them back up.

“You’ve got to presume the three coming down will all be strong again and will make a real challenge. All three have been in the Championship recently, so it is not going to be a shock to some of their players.

“But the Championship will be the same as every other year, there will be one or two surprises and one or two who expect to be there. It’s going to be really tough, as usual.”

Dan Moss has signed a two-year deal with Woking, quickly resolving his future after being released by Millwall.

The 21-year-old joined the Lions from Burnley in 2019 and captained their U23 side.

He played the first half of last season on loan at Woking before a temporary switch to Orient in January.

 

 


 

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