Millwall boss Joe Edwards: We have to move on quickly to the next opponent and prep for Sunderland

Joe Edwards has explained why he has not done an extensive review of Millwall’s 3-1 defeat to Ipswich Town – with more than one reason for his approach.

The Lions only got back from East Anglia in the early hours of Thursday morning and next up is Sunderland at The Den on Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Edwards was critical of Millwall’s performance against the high-flying Tractor Boys and apologised to the 1,300 travelling fans who made the journey.

Asked if he had watched the full match back today, he told the South London Press: “I’ve seen bits of it. Normally I’d be very keen to watch the whole game back and really study it after a game. But there are two factors with this one.

“Firstly, there is such a quick turnaround to the next one – so you have to very quickly move on to the next opponent.

“But also the nature of last night’s performance means there was definitely bits to learn and take from it tactically but the biggest issue was just our general application, intensity and how the early setbacks rocked us. It soon became one of those games where at some stage you have to put it to bed pretty quickly and accept it was one of those nights where you played really poorly – not get overly dragged into the tactical analysis.

“Maybe on another day if we had more time before the next one then we would. I think I’ve tried to get that balance of whizzing through it, seeing what we need to see and taking bits from it, versus moving on and getting ready for Sunderland.

“It definitely didn’t scream out to me as it was wrong tactically or structurally with the team. It was that in all elements of the basics we were second best to a team that is in real good form, in general.”

Ipswich have won 16 of their last 17 league games at Portman Road.

Kieran McKenna’s side were runners up in League One last season – amassing 98 points – and they have powered on since the resumption of club football in England’s second tier.

“There is a lot to be said for momentum,” said Edwards. “They came with that confidence they had from doing so well in League One. They have maintained it.

“Momentum and confidence can be key and we’re probably slightly towards the other end of that scale at the moment. We are in a position that we really need to get out of. Even when we start okay, which we didn’t last night, early setbacks in games – whether that be giving big chances away or conceding goals – are probably affecting us more than they need to.

“You come up against a team that is in the exact opposite situation. They are incredibly clinical and their team has been well put together over a couple of years, in terms of recruitment, and obviously well-coached. They are scoring an incredible amount of goals at home but when you watch those goals, not only are they scoring but the level of the execution is outstanding.

“To go 3-0 down was obviously really poor from us but they aren’t huge chances – they are moments in and around the box where we have got several defenders in there but they are just so clinical.

“When you concede so early in the game it is a mountain to climb, which we couldn’t do.”

Ipswich’s xG (expected goals) at half-time was 0.40 and they scored from three of their four efforts on target in that period.

“It’s really hard because when you get well-beaten you don’t want to be that person who is always reverting to stats to cover things up,” said Edwards. “But a lot of us in the game do respect xG as quite a key stat and key marker of how the game is going.

“That xG tells it was quite brutal in the way we were punished. And then of course the goals have a huge impact on the feeling of a game but also the feeling of the performance. My issue is that when a team scores three goals from four shots, sometimes you can count yourself unlucky but then it became the manner of our general performance which was harder to take for us.

“I would never settle for being beaten. Teams going to Portman Road and losing 3-1 can happen, we’ve seen it fairly regularly at the moment, but it shouldn’t happen in the manner in which it did to us. We need to address that and be better than that as quickly as possible.”

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