Danny McNamara: Win over Saints proves Millwall can produce goods against anyone in Championship


Danny McNamara reckons that Millwall’s victory at Southampton last weekend proves they have the quality to mix it with any opponent in the Championship.

Japhet Tanganga and Zian Flemming scored for the Lions as they won an away league fixture against the Saints for the first time since 1989, when Les Briley and Tony Cascarino were on target at The Dell.

More importantly the three points  banked in Neil Harris’ first match back in charge of the Lions ensured they did not drop into the bottom three despite fellow safety scrappers QPR and Huddersfield Town being victorious.

“The win on Saturday has lifted the group massively,” said McNamara, who played on the left of a back four at St Mary’s Stadium. “The new manager coming in has freshened it up as well, which is always good.

“Getting that win is just a little bit of a weight off our shoulders.

“It proves to everyone that we are capable of beating these teams and we are good enough – I just don’t think results have shown that and performances hadn’t been great of late. Hopefully we can push on from the weekend.”

McNamara and Billy Mitchell both approached George Saville on the day of the Southampton game saying they fancied Millwall’s chances despite heading into the contest with one point from a possible 21.

“I was on the coach and I said to Sav: ‘I’ve got a good feeling about today – I think we’re going to get a result’,” said McNamara. “Apparently Bill said exactly the same thing to George.

“There was just a good vibe going into the game. Neil coming in, he just brings that energy – doesn’t he? We know what Neil is about. He’s Millwall, everyone understands him. The lads were on board with that.”

Picture: PA.

McNamara, 25, made his Lions debut under Gary Rowett in an FA Cup tie at Boreham Wood in January 2021.

The former Republic of Ireland U21 international was offered his first professional contract by Harris.

“I was in the U23s and on the fringes of the first team – so I worked with him fully for maybe three years,” said McNamara. “I went on loan a couple of times under Neil and I was on the bench the last game of the season at Wigan (in May 2019) but didn’t come on.

“Maybe at that time I wasn’t ready and needed a few loans. Then Neil left. I was a bit unfortunate with that.

“I’m glad he is back. He knows me well and I know him well – he knows what I can bring to the team. It’s exciting times for the club.”

Southampton had 80 per cent possession – with 42 touches in the Millwall box, compared to nine for the visitors.

But it felt like the Lions enjoyed the siege mentality and being asked questions defensively. Tanganga made 14 clearances with McNamara the next most on six.

“When you get a result from those type of games there is always a massive relief at the end of it,” said McNamara. “It is mentally draining – they have a lot of the ball. You have to be switched on because as soon as you switch off for that one second they can be in.

“We are a defensively good team but we just haven’t shown that the last few months.”

McNamara has played the full 90 minutes in the last four matches – the first time he has had a run like that since April.

He switched to left-back at the start of the second half against Sheffield Wednesday.
“I know I can play anywhere across that backline – including centre-back,” said McNamara. “I think probably the best part of my game is the defensive side. I love doing that.

“I feel I’ve been pretty unfortunate to not play more this season. It’s been a bit of an up and down season but that is football – you are going to have that in your career.

“You’ve got to pick yourself up and show why you should be playing every week.

“I’m going to do everything I can to maintain my position. We’ve got 12 games to go this season – 12 cup finals. Whoever is playing and whoever isn’t, we will get behind everyone and just push on.”

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