Millwall boss Neil Harris on summer shutdown – with superb points return since Championship return

Millwall signed off their Championship season with a fifth straight victory – with only Ipswich Town taking more points than them since Neil Harris returned to SE16.
The Lions were one point above the bottom three when the club’s all-time record goalscorer replaced Joe Edwards as head coach on February 21.
Casper De Norre’s winner at Swansea City at the weekend ensured Millwall finished 13th – nine points clear of Birmingham, who filled the final drop spot.
Millwall have won eight, drawn two and lost three of the 13 games under Harris – the 26 points collected only bettered by Ipswich (27), who have won automatic promotion to the Premier League.
A 1-0 win at Sunderland in the 44th league match of Millwall’s season ensured mathematical safety.
Harris was nominated for Championship Manager of the Month in April.
Asked if he did not want the season to end, Harris told the South London Press last week: “It’s been a yo-yo season for myself – a lot of the highs and lows. For me, personally, getting a break will be important.
“For the football club, we finished on a high. So yes, we could’ve rolled into next week and we’d have fancied staying unbeaten, home or away, because we had that feeling about us.
“We finished with real confidence and the players, individually, are in a really good place because anyone, whether they have started or come off the bench, have performed well and been part of a successful team.
“It’s important the players go away confident and come back in the right frame of mind.
“I can picture June 26 (their report day back) already and that the players are going to bounce back into the building – be positive and excited.
“So, yes, we could have carried on like a steam train but we can also now reflect on what we have done in a short space of time and be really proud of it – look to build on it.
“We need to take the momentum and confidence into next season.”
Millwall have conceded just nine times in Harris’ latest spell in charge with Matija Sarkic’s penalty save from Swansea skipper Matt Grimes making it four clean sheets in the last five fixtures.
“Credit goes to various people for that,” said Harris. “The individuals who have played – it is not just the backline. We can talk about the work the midfield and wide players do but also someone like Zian Flemming, the work he does off the ball is so important.
“We defend as a unit and Adam Barrett does a lot of work with the defenders, individually and collectively. Then it is just the mindset and mentality of the players to want to get a clean sheet. It is something I challenge the players with, and ask them to have.
“You look at the clean sheet mentality we have but you look at the top end of the pitch – Japhet (Tanganga) and Coops (Jake Cooper) have scored a couple of goals, Lenny (Ryan Leonard) has been Player of the Year but then Danny Mac (McNamara) was arguably man of the match last game of the season and one of the biggest goal threats, from left-back.
“It’s really important that we do both sides of the game but ultimately for Millwall Football Club there always has to be that mentality we are going to be difficult to beat.
“When I talk about that little bit of flair or excitement at the top end of the pitch, that’s maybe something we are lacking at times, to attract real individual matchwinners.”

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