BY ALEX GRACE
Gary Rowett was satisfied with Millwall’s pre-season campaign as they ended their friendly programme with a 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace at The Den on Tuesday afternoon.
Max Meyer was on hand to finish Wilfried Zaha’s cross for the only goal of the game, as Millwall found it hard to break down their Premier League opponents.
“It would be very easy to play teams below you in the leagues and maybe win them and feel comfortable and score goals,” said Rowett.
“But ultimately you have to test yourself off the ball in some of those defensive moments.
“We spoke about ramping up the challenge in pre-season, it’s about testing yourselves so you feel like you’re ready for different types of games when the season starts.
“Palace have lots of pace and athleticism and strength, but I thought we pressed them at times in good areas.
“Sometimes they’re going to get out of those positions because they’ve got the players to do that, whereas in the Championship it would be harder for teams to get out.
“I was pleased with a lot of it. The goal is probably a good lesson against a Premier League side. We end up in a good position on the edge of their box and should make more of it. We give it away and then get punished with one ball and then it’s a goal.
“Against good teams that have that sort of quality and pace, you can’t afford to make those mistakes. I’m pleased with three-quarters of it and the quarter I wasn’t pleased with was probably that little bit more quality in the final third to maintain pressure on the opposition and create more opportunities.”
A big contribution to Millwall’s play-off charge last season was their defensive structure and Rowett was happy his side didn’t concede too many chances to the Premier League side.
“I don’t think Palace created that many opportunities against us. There were probably an equal amount of moments and they made the most of one of them.”
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