Ryan Leonard on snuffing out threat of Leicester dangerman Mavididi and a ‘crazy night’ for Millwall

Ryan Leonard hailed the performance of his team-mates after Millwall’s 1-0 win over Leicester City on Tuesday night.

The Lions moved four points clear of the Championship’s bottom three after the victory over the league leaders.

That win was made all the more important as Wednesday night’s results went in favour of Millwall with Birmingham and Blackburn both losing.

“It was a crazy night,” said Leonard.

“We’ve had a few of these at The Den since I’ve been here.

“Under the lights, anything can happen and tonight it was one of those where we were backs against the wall, coming off the back of two poor results, two poor performances based on our own standards.

“To do what we did tonight, with and without the ball, we were excellent – everyone to a man, from the lads that started to the lads that came on. Everyone put in a hell of a shift tonight.

“It’s the standard that we’ve set. However, we can’t rest on that one performance, we have to come here again on Saturday and put in another performance.”

The 31-year-old is no stranger to a long-range goal, having hit some fabulous strikes during his time in SE16. And he was full of praise for Ryan Longman’s fine effort that sealed the points on Tuesday night.

“That’s one of the best goals I’ve seen in a game I’ve played in,” said Leonard. “He did it earlier in the season against Rotherham but that was more of a tap in than this one. The fact it’s glanced off the bar and gone in has made it even better.

“It was a hell of a strike from Longy and fair play to him, it was one of those that was fitting of the performance and the game. It’s a goal worthy of winning any game of football.”

The win over the table-topping Foxes came after two defeats at relegation rivals Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town but the former Southend United player says there is a real togetherness in the team despite those recent setbacks.

He said. “We’ve got a brilliant set of lads down there. Everyone is really together, everyone is really pushing. We’ve got some great characters in the changing room. We’ve been disappointed, we’ve not been happy with the last two results but to come here tonight and put in a performance in front of the fans, who we owed after they travelled to Rotherham and Huddersfield, when we didn’t perform, it was an amazing result and performance.”

Neil Harris’ side have 47 points, four more than Sheffield Wednesday, who occupy the final relegation spot.

Pundits often talk about 50 points being the magic total to avoid the drop from the second tier. However, Peterborough United were relegated with 54 points in 2013. Leonard was not committing to a specific number when asked what he thought this season’s safety number would be.

“It’s one of the only years you don’t have a points total to reach,” he said. “You have to take it game by game and win as many games as possible.

“You’ve got teams picking up points all over the place, it’s a hell of a tight division. We have to keep winning games and picking up points to make sure we finish outside that bottom three and do ourselves justice.”

Leicester’s Stephy Mavididi has been one of the standout performers in the league this season, having had a hand in 17 goals this season, but he was left frustrated by Leonard, who marshalled him superbly throughout the contest

Asked how he managed to keep one of Leicester’s many talents quiet, he said: “It was a player that we’ve tried to study and tried to watch. I’ve looked at what he’s good at and what he does. He’s probably one of the best wingers in the league. He’s a very good player. I try to back myself one-v-one defending. Tonight it worked and we got the result.”

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