Millwall fail to turn up heat on Derby County – as boss Gary Rowett describes second-half display as “tepid”

Gary Rowett felt his Millwall side failed to turn up the heat on struggling Derby County as his former club left SE16 with maximum points.

The result moved the Rams off the bottom of the Championship and was a first victory for interim boss Wayne Rooney.

Millwall have a number of first-teamers unavailable to them – including Kenneth Zohore, Connor Mahoney, Mason Bennett and Billy Mitchell. Scott Malone was not allowed to face his parent club.

Rowett said: “We had to make changes, having had less preparation time and playing away at Blackburn on Wednesday night. I felt as though the energy levels were going to be important.

“I felt it was important we started well against Derby as well because they are in a difficult position. They are in a fragile position, to a certain degree.

“We started fairly brightly. We were very competitive early on and created the chance for Jed. If you look at the game there is a big chance for each team – we didn’t take ours and they took their one.

“I don’t think Bart has had another save to make. Derby are quite a technical side, at times they made it quite difficult for us to really get as much of a foothold in the game as we’d have liked.

“It was a fairly even encounter where we just haven’t quite had the quality to hurt them enough.

“That’s the disappointment really, because I felt it was a game that was there to be won. Like I said, Derby are in a difficult situation and they’ve not won many games and when it’s like that you’ve got to make sure you turn the heat on a little bit. We didn’t turn the heat on at all.

“It ended up being quite a tepid second half from us. It got to a point for 15 minutes where Derby were battening down the hatches, putting on as many big physical players as they could and it’s up to us to then break it down.

“Young Tyler came on. I’m looking at the bench and I haven’t got many options to bring on. Jake Cooper has had to play two weeks too early with a dislocated shoulder, which he probably shouldn’t do, but we felt with Scotty Malone being unavailable we had to take that gamble.

“We’ve got players not far from coming back which will really help us.

“I can’t really deny it was a poor performance today and one I’m really disappointed with, because we performed really well on Wednesday and went toe to toe with an excellent Blackburn team, who were a far greater attacking threat than our opponents today. But we didn’t do enough to open Derby up, that was the disappointment.”

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