Zian Flemming has ‘deep love for football’ as Millwall midfielder talks about Championship managerial merry-go-round

Billy Mitchell has described Millwall’s club record signing Zian Flemming as having a “deep love for football”.

The club record signing scored twice in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Lions manager Gary Rowett claimed afterwards that Flemming and Andreas Voglsammer, who joined from Fortuna Sittard and Union Berlin respectively in the summer, have set the bar for training standards.

Mitchell told the South London Press: “They’ve been fantastic. You can tell, particularly Zian, has a proper, genuine deep love for football. He’s absolutely fascinated by it. Most of the boys are, but particularly Flemm. You can see him practising his free-kicks and working on different techniques.

“Sometimes the starting 11 come off from training slightly earlier or do a shorter session on a Monday, matchday plus-two, and you can see him still out there watching the other games.

“Him and Vogey have a deep love that keeps them out there that much longer. I was definitely like that as well, but I’ve had to manage my time a little bit as well, in terms of physically to know when enough is enough.”

Millwall travel to Bristol City on Saturday looking to stretch their unbeaten run to three matches in the Championship.

“Given the better results we will probably be more focused on ourselves than we will on them,” said Mitchell. “When you’re losing too many games it’s easy to get in the habit of going ‘who have we got next? Where are we going to find our next points from?’ Whereas now we concentrate on ourselves.

“I’ve only played at Bristol City once before but I felt like I had a pretty good game. It’s always nice to go back to a stadium where you feel confident.

“It’s tricky to look into form.”

Three of Millwall’s next four fixtures are against clubs that have changed their managers.

After the trip to Ashton Gate the South Londoners face Watford, who have just appointed Slaven Bilic, and then are at home to West Brom, who sacked Steve Bruce on Monday.

Huddersfield Town appointed Mark Fotheringham at the end of last month after dismissing former Lions player Danny Schofield.

Even Boro were under interim charge, Leo Percovich stepping in after the Teessiders parted company with Chris Wilder.

“I saw something saying the gaffer is the second longest-serving manager in the Championship and 12th or 13th in England,” said Mitchell. “All these teams are trying to find a little bit of edge and it can go one of two ways; you can get that initial reaction where everyone is trying to impress and that energy is difficult to play against – or their form continues or change of tactics, an adaptation period, and you can capitalise on playing against those teams.

“I probably shouldn’t speak too soon on that and see how the next few games play out.

“For us, although we’ve changed shape we have had the manager for a long time and it means everyone knows what they are doing. That is never a bad thing.”

See tomorrow’s South London Press for the full interview with Mitchell.

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