Millwall head coach Joe Edwards not looking to dampen expectation after ‘incredible’ first match in charge

Joe Edwards has described his first taste of managing Millwall as “incredible”.

The Lions beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 at Hillsborough in the 37-year-old’s first match in charge as head coach.

Edwards, who had been England U20 head coach before taking the Championship opportunity at The Den, had three training sessions with his squad before facing the Owls.

“It was incredible,” Edwards told the South London Press, when asked how it felt to win so big. “If I’m honest I wouldn’t have dared dream of that. You don’t at any level you work at – and particularly not the Championship.

“I’d say the Premier League is probably the best league in the world and the Championship is the hardest league in the world. Whether it is your first game as a manager or your 100th, I don’t think you could ever sit there and think ‘you know what? I think we’re going to go away and win 4-0′.

“Although I wouldn’t have imagined the result and how comfortable it felt in the latter stages, a lot of the different elements in the performance that got us there didn’t overly surprise me because I know what the group is capable of.

“I felt it on the day and after watching it back as well – the first 15-20 minutes were tough and you’d expect that. You go away from home and they ask a lot of questions. They put us under pressure. That’s where I saw a lot of the honesty and digging in that I know this group are capable of.

“But particularly once we got the first goal and settled we grew in confidence and showed some moments, still not anywhere near as many as I’d like, where we showed the quality on the ball that these players are capable of.”

The result only increases anticipation and expectation for Millwall’s next match against Coventry City at The Den next weekend.

“People will be realistic,” said Edwards. “That to go away and win 4-0 there were things in the game, like the timings of the goals and how clinical we were, I think people know it’s not always like that.

“But in terms of having a few days, particularly with the international break, to go and enjoy it is important. I don’t want to come and completely dampen peoples’ spirits and kill the excitement because it has been a tough time. After a strong last season, albeit with disappointment on the final day, it had been a disappointing start to this season and a period of games without a win.

“So to get a win, win 4-0 away and play some stuff that people enjoyed watching, I definitely don’t want to dampen excitement. And I would hope from a performance point of view that people would expect to see more of the same and even more of the good stuff that they liked.

“For sure it is not always plain sailing – we know that. The moments in the game that don’t always go your way, goals can change games massively – we did see that with the timing of our first goal, it really settled us. It won’t always be like that.

“There were glimpses of what we want to be moving forward.

“I hope people do get excited about having a team they enjoy watching.”

See tomorrow’s South London Press for a full in-depth interview with Edwards.

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