Millwall’s defensive record has been excellent under Gary Rowett – but he admitted they were way off their usual levels in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Huddersfield Town.
The Lions had kept more clean sheets in 2020 than any other top team in Europe heading into the weekend’s Championship clash at The Den.
But Huddersfield ran out convincing victors in SE16 thanks to goals from Josh Koroma, Pipa and Lewis O’Brien.
Rowett was watching the contest on a stream as he completed his period of self-isolation following a positive Covid-19 test.
“It was disappointing,” said the Millwall chief. “We started like we had a massively euphoric win on Wednesday [2-0 at Preston] and a long trip back. There were so many good things on Wednesday – so much energy expended – that it was whether we could go with the same intensity? We didn’t want to change massive amounts.
“That’s always the debate – how many changes to still maintain a performance with a little bit of continuity?
“We started really poorly. There were a few details we didn’t get right and it allowed Huddersfield to make the running early on. We conceded a really poor goal to go 1-0 down.
“We adjust our formation and then we got on top. We got in some really promising positions without finding that little bit of subtly and quality to create opportunities.
“We concede a really poor second goal and are pushing when we concede a really stupid third goal. The game is over and we need to make sure we don’t do that – it’s a little bit unprofessional.
“If you said before the three games [that Rowett was self-isolating] that we’d win one, draw one and lose one I wouldn’t have been horrendousy displeased. It is difficult not being there.
“When we’ve been as good as we were on the Wednesday, to put that type of performance in was a little bit disheartening.
“I wouldn’t blame the lads who took the game – I thought they did a fabulous job in difficult circumstances for them to be in. They were a little disappointed with the performance, as we all were.
“One of the hallmarks of our game is that we’re really difficult to score against but for the first goal their one player reacts quicker than our three players.
“It was certainly a game where we made too many mistakes at wrong times to give them chances to score.
“Huddersfield played in a way that had lots of movement and flexibility – they made it quite hard for us to come out in areas and press as well.
“When they scored it was moments of poor defending by us. It’s something we can’t allow to become habits – because if we do we won’t win any game.”
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