Gary Rowett: Millwall didn’t deserve to beat Wigan Athletic – Matt Smith can be disappointed he hasn’t been a regular starter


Gary Rowett admitted his Millwall side did not do enough to merit a win in Tuesday’s Championship clash with Wigan Athletic.

The Lions twice came from behind at The Den as headers from Shaun Hutchinson and Matt Smith ensured the points were shared.

“I’m not happy with a point but I don’t think our performance was good enough to warrant the three points certainly,” said Millwall manager Rowett. “But if you are not going to perform as well as you’d like – and the game is not going to go quite how you want it to – then you have to accept not losing the game.

“I thought it would be a challenge after the high of a first away win [of the season at Swansea on Saturday] I always knew it would be a tough game.

“If you look at Wigan, although their results have not been great recently they have been very, very close in every single game – late goals have killed them rather than poor performances.

“They showed how much they were playing for their manager. They were very direct and very aggressive, they started much better than us. The first goal is a classic case in point. A big diagonal [ball] that we spoke about and they react first to it. It is a great finish but poor defending. From that point you felt it would be one of those games.

“In the first half we moved the ball too slowly which is why we brought big Matt on at half time. We lacked that bit of quality we showed in other games.

“We got ourselves into silly positions due to a lack of control in the game and in the team. It was a great finish from Hutch again – Callum [Davidson, assistant] and Adam [Barrett, first-team coach] work really hard on set-piece details and it was another set-piece goal.

“He looks a real threat at the moment, Hutch. If we can get Coops looking the threat we know he can be then we’ve got some real power at set plays, which is a big thing.

“Our general play was a little too predictable and slow. Whenever we tried to play quickly the ball seemed to get stuck under our feet or we didn’t have the quality or energy to do it.

“I felt some of the players needed an easier out ball [which is why Smith came on] – that angled ball to get into areas without making so many passes. He has a real ability to start the game or comes on as sub.”

Smith produced a superb header from Shaun Williams’ cross to make it 2-2. It was his fifth goal of the campaign since his summer move from QPR.

“It was great work from Willo,” said Rowett. “I’m not quite sure what he was doing up there, but it was a brilliant stood-up cross – a great little run.

“It was so difficult because if you watch the goal back the ball hasn’t got that much pace on it. And he’s really got to put a lot of power on to the header.

“It’s a real difficult one with Smudge because he is doing enough to start games but the way we’ve been wanting to play, with just a little more intensity from the start in terms of that athleticism, but he has effected games. You can’t deny that and you can’t deny he has done his job really, really well.

“He can be disappointed in some ways that he hasn’t started games.”




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