Millwall boss on being forced into tactical and personnel switch as his side fought back to draw against Hull City

Gary Rowett praised his Millwall players for the way they fought back to draw 2-2 with Hull City at The Den.

The Lions took an early lead through Duncan Watmore’s first goal of the season but then saw the contest turn on two defensive lapses.

Sean McLoughlin’s ball through the middle was raced on to by Jaden Philogene and the Hammersmith-born winger was left with a simple finish past Bartosz Bialkowski.

Philogene was also in the right spot after Danny McNamara’s wayward header back to Bialkowski. The Hull attacker chopped back inside McNamara and set up Adama Traore to smash in from close range.

Rowett switched things at the break, ditching his 4-2-3-1 formation and reverting to a back five.

McNamara was taken off along with Watmore, who turned his ankle on the plastic advertising mat behind the goal after opening his account.

Millwall were stronger in the second period, an improved press ensuring that Liam Rosenior’s City had nowhere near the same time on the ball.
Joe Bryan, a summer signing after being released from Fulham, scored a 54th-minute equaliser. Casper De Norre’s pass played the left wing-back into the penalty area and he turned away from a marker before a low finish across Ryan Allsop.

De Norre, along with Bryan the pick of the home players, had already had a strike tipped over by Allsop before the leveller.
Substitute Aidomo Emakhu smashed over in stoppage time, Romaine Esse created the opportunity.

“We had to change it after the first half – tactically and personnel wise,” said Rowett. “We responded really well. It did the trick in the second half. Just a little more composure and we maybe go and get the third. I don’t think we necessarily had amazing chances – but there were two or three moments where we could’ve gone and got the next one to win the game.

“We didn’t cope with the two goals very well, again, and that is something that I certainly spoke to the players about at half time.

“Hull are a really good side. They are really well-coached. Liam (Rosenior) has done a really good job and they are difficult to play against. When you press them they just bounce it around you. They are really comfortable in possession.

“I changed formation to start with. We started 4-2-3-1 with the personnel that started Plymouth. I felt it was important they had the chance to go again – we were just too passive.

“We go a goal up but for all Hull’s good play the two goals are just very, very poor moments from us – it isn’t fantastic play from them. The first one, we let a runner just go between two runners unopposed and he ends up scoring. Then we have a mix-up for the second goal which can be avoided – not just the first bit but the second bit as well.

“All you can do then is try and respond. We didn’t want another home defeat because that would’ve been pretty damaging.

“Second half we stepped up on them and played with a bit more energy, passion and aggression – also more quality, to control the game like we did.

“It was the tonic we needed after a first-half performance.”

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