Lions boss reveals half-time message to his side as they fought back to beat Wycombe

BY DANIEL MARSH

Millwall boss Gary Rowett was full of praise for his side’s second-half performance following their 2-1 victory at Wycombe.

The Lions made a slow start, with Bartosz Bialkowski gifting Wycombe’s Scott Kashket an opening goal after just nine minutes following a lapse of concentration. Jed Wallace drew Millwall level from the penalty spot just three minutes after half time, before a thumping Ryan Leonard strike on the hour sealed the points for Rowett’s men.

It was the perfect response following a poor opening half from Millwall, with Rowett sharing his disappointment at the Lions’ slow start despite their marked improvement after the interval.

“I felt our second-half performance, in my opinion, deserved to win the game,” explained Rowett after the match.

“But I was disappointed with our performance in the first half. Particularly to concede in the way that we did and give a very, very tenacious Wycombe side a little bit of a lifeline and something to manage the game really well, which they did.

“Their keeper took ages taking kicks – it’s what you’re going to do. It’s what we’d do if we were 1-0 up. It just made the first half a very, very frustrating half. I felt we probably should have had a penalty. Tom Bradshaw got the wrong side of a centre half and I think for me, it’s a clear penalty.

“We come in at half-time disappointed. But I think we’ve been dragged into a game which suits Wycombe, because they’re excellent at it. That’s why they got promoted. They’re a side that hasn’t got the budget in this division so they fight for everything. They’ll get results.

“At half time, really, it was just about are we going to show some quality? Or are we just going to do what we’ve been doing all half which is not play with composure and use our ability to get out of tight areas? The goal [was] a good start to the second half. I thought you could see our intent to get out wide, to switch play and get Mahlon [Romeo] and Jed [Wallace] down the right hand side.

“I said to the players at half-time that I think if we get a goal then I think we’ll go and score two or three. I think we started to play then. We started to move the ball around and made it difficult for Wycombe, and that’s what we really should have done from the start.
“But you have to give them credit – you’re not just going to come here and do what you want. No team is going to do that. I was pleased with the second half – I was particularly pleased with the second goal. I thought it was some really good play.

“The second goal was excellent, the move was really good and it’s a great finish from Ryan Leonard. He does that really well when he gets into those advanced positions, he’s a really composed finisher. I felt we just did enough in the second half to win the game but certainly in the first half, we’ve got to be a bit better and show the improvements that I think we’ve made.”


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