BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall and Hull City clash tonight at the KCOM Stadium – with both sets of players looking for a response to emphatic defeats on Saturday.
The Lions were 3-0 down inside 27 minutes at The Den and went on to lose 3-1 to Preston North End at The Den.
Hull were smashed 5-1 at Brentford.
But Lions manager Neil Harris had no interest in discussing City’s heavy defeat at Griffin Park.
“I’ve got to be honest, all I’m interested in is my players’ response,” said the Millwall chief. “We need to carry on the last half hour of Saturday and get back to that clean sheet mentality.
“You can’t give teams goals cheaply at this level, it’s all about zeros and ones [in terms of numbers conceded].
“I looked back at the game on Sunday and Preston were better than us for the first 55 minutes but then we dominated the last half hour. If Lee [Gregory] makes it 3-2 then everyone in the stadium fancies us to get at least a draw out of it.
“The frustration is that we were so good against Wimbledon and Derby, you go into a home game and expect the levels to rise again.
“I can look at the positives – the influence of the three subs who came on, Thommo’s [Ben Thompson] goal and the way the boys responded. They came out and had a right go, they played for the club and showed a fire in their bellies.
“But it was clear that Preston started the game much better than us. We talked about it before the game – starting well, being on the front foot and very Millwall-like. Preston anticipated the second ball much better than us in the first 25 minutes.
“We gave two goals away from set-plays and we’ve been extremely good on those since Christmas.
“All Preston did was make two or three passes and put the ball behind us – that caused us problems. They did it very well. But if you give teams at this level a leg up then they take it – they are good enough already without that.
“For the first goal we get the set-up slightly wrong from a free-kick. They get a lucky break as the ball drops to their left-back on his left foot – it’s a great strike. He won’t score a better goal than that for a long time.
“The second goal is really poor. Some players just don’t do what is asked of them. This is the level they are at now and they need to learn and do what’s asked of them. There is a responsibility to keep clean sheets.”
Harris expects to make late calls on some of his squad for tonight’s game.
“We’ve got the normal knocks and niggles from Wednesday-Saturday football,” he said. “There are a few tight muscles and tired bodies.
“I like to be prepared and organised but we might have to make a late decision during Tuesday on the team.
“Some of the players are feeling the games and others just want to churn them out.
“We’ve got a few that got knocks who might be struggling.”
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