BY JAKE SANDERS
Neil Harris described Millwall’s victory at Derby County as one of the best away performances during his time as Lions boss.
It looked like the South Londoners would draw 0-0 for a third time in four Championship matches, but Jed Wallace rounded off a fine counter-attacking move to earn Millwall just their second away victory of the campaign.
The Lions moved five points clear of the relegation zone.
Harris was asked whether it was the perfect away performance, he said: “Yeah, pretty much. We knew we were coming up against a very good and talented Derby side that have not been firing full cylinders recently but have still got an excellent home record. We knew we were going to have to be disciplined, organised.
“We changed it round a little bit tonight. We didn’t know that Derby were going to have play 3-5-2, I have got to be honest. We pushed Jed Wallace inside and Fergie [Shane Ferguson], because I knew Jed could counter from that position.
“We wanted to get Fergie more involved in the game – the goal worked out perfectly, but first and foremost I want to praise the defensive ability, because I think 93rd minute was their first shot on goal, I think four shots from distance over the bar. We didn’t create a lot ourselves, but sometimes when you’re the away side you only need one. We are really pleased, it is certainly one of the best away performances from my time in charge.”
The clean sheet was Millwall’s fourth in five games in all competitions, but their first in the league on the road since August. The Lions chief was delighted with his whole team, but particularly his back-four.
He added: “I talked a lot tonight about trust in the group and the trust comes from trusting the man next to you, the unit and the man behind you. The team trusts the defenders. I think early in the season we had a spell, which we never had last year, where we were making individual errors and we were getting punished for every error we made the ball was ending up in the back of our net.
“That can’t continue. We have found a mentality back again, individuals have found form. They can rely on each other, they make a mistake and they know someone is going to get them out of a hole. And when you have got that in the backline that gives you trust in your front players to know that if they get a chance and put it away they are likely to win the game.
“Noughts and ones are so important in football, but for Millwall at our level, any clean sheet is a huge bonus for us. We built our foundations last year and we tried second half of the season from Christmas onwards to get our mentality back again.“
IMAGE BY BRIAN TONKS
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