Gary Rowett felt his Millwall side’s defensive performance in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City would have rated highly – even if the Championship opener failed to catch fire.
The two sides battled their way to a stalemate in SE16.
The Lions missed Ryan Woods, ineligible to face his parent club, while Ryan Leonard was forced to play at right wing-back with Mahlon Romeo still not fit.
On-loan Tottenham striker Troy Parrott (quad) was also unavailable.
Millwall boss Rowett said: “I had to make a number of changes. Putting Lenny out to right wing-back we knew that wouldn’t give us as much attacking impetus as Mahlon would give us. And it wasn’t just one change really – it’s almost two – when you haven’t got Woodsy [Ryan Woods].
“It gave an opportunity to players in the first [league] game of the season. For the likes of Thommo [Ben Thompson] he’s had two starts and got a little bit of confidence and match minutes.
“Unfortunately the players we were missing stopped us being at our most creative.
“But a clean sheet against a side that a lot of people are tipping to be top six this season and who I don’t think will be too far away wasn’t disappointing. It was probably just the lack of control that was a little bit disappointing and that stopped our wing-backs getting up the pitch.
“Scott Malone looked really, really bright on his first league start since coming back to the club.
“There were some positive things but when it is 0-0 and a game of attrition then if you judge it on how entertaining it was then it wouldn’t have won many marks. If you judge it on defensive resilience and how hard the team worked to get a result then it would be quite high up there for marks out of 10. But we all want a little bit more.”
PHOTOS: BRIAN TONKS
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