BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall manager Neil Harris reckoned he should take any blame for his side not quite clicking in tonight’s penalty shootout win over Gillingham.
The Lions are through to the second round of the League Cup but needed spot-kicks after the tie finished 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Byron Webster, Shane Ferguson and Tom Elliott all converted for the Lions. Ben Amos saved two of Gillingham’s four attempts – with Harris describing his heroics as “outstanding”.
“There were some strong performances from the team but we lacked a little bit of cohesion and I’ll throw my hands up for that,” said Harris.
“It was putting a team together with very limited time to work on it. Whether we won 5-0 or scraped through on penalties, I’d have been delighted either way. We got a clean sheet and some strong performances. It was important for players like Byron Webster and Jiri Skalak to get minutes.
“Some weren’t quite at the races for me. But I look at myself first. Did I pick the right team to get a really strong Millwall performance? Probably not. When I watch the video back I will assess who I thought did well and why, and who didn’t do well and why.”
Elliott attracted criticism from sections of the home support but stepped up to beat Tomas Holy to put Millwall 2-1 ahead.
“Tom was okay – I don’t think we used him in quite the right way at times,” said Harris. “When you play a 6ft 4 striker who feeds off crosses and we didn’t quite use the ball well enough in the final third to utilise him in and around the penalty area.”
Captain Webster converted the second – with the centre-back wearing the captain’s armband on a night where Harris made 10 changes to his starting line-up from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Blackburn.
“Byron takes a very good penalty,” said Harris. “He is outstanding going either side or down the middle.
“It was always a foregone conclusion if he was happy to take one.
“I’m very calm and give them 30 seconds to decide who wants to take them. There is no blame culture – I don’t expect anyone to stand up and take it. But if they do take it then I expect them to be calm and methodical.
“I was fortunate that seven put their hands up and wanted to take one.”
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