Millwall boss Gary Rowett staying grounded despite latest win pushing Lions up to fourth in Championship

Gary Rowett was not getting carried away after watching his Millwall side go fourth in the Championship table tonight.

Martin Cranie’s own goal and an excellent finish by Connor Mahoney sealed a 2-0 victory over Luton Town at The Den.

A good start to the campaign has fuelled talk that the Lions could make the play-offs after going close in two of their first three seasons back in English football’s second tier.

Rowett said: “We finished eighth last season. We’ve been pretty consistent for the year we’ve been here. We’re six games in at the moment…we’ve gone to fourth but could easily have dropped to 14th if we lost.

Millwall v Luton Town SkyBet Championship, The Den, 20 October 2020

“It’s about us building. We’ve been defensively excellent for 12 months. The challenge for us has always been can we translate some good play into more attacking moments in games and more goals? We’ve got some excellent options in the squad.

“When you’re able to bring someone like Ken Zohore off the bench, it feels like a real luxury to try and take games away from teams.

“We left the likes of Shane Ferguson and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson out. That’s probably the hardest part of the job – leaving players out. Sometimes you have to pick a team and a bench that you feel you’ll need for the game. They certainly haven’t done anything wrong at all.

“That’s what I get paid to do [when asked if selection dilemmas were challenging]. We’ve got something like 20 games up to the first week of January – so we’re going to need everybody. We’ve got to keep mixing it up or you’re going to lose three or four of your best players and then the chance really has gone.

“We’ve probably had about 40 games in charge and I’d say over that period I’d imagine we’d probably be top-five for form, something like that.

“There is no point me standing here and eulogising about the team because we won 2-0 and we’re suddenly one of the fancied teams, because we’re not. We’ve got to work incredibly hard and defend with the same diligence every week. We’ve got to be at our max every game to go and get a result.

“The last game-and-a-half we’ve been at our best and won both of them.”

PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD


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