EXCLUSIVE: Harris is ‘relieved to still be in Championship’

Neil Harris reckons Millwall need more depth to their squad next season – and that is likely to mean an increase in expenditure, writes Richard Cawley.

The Lions are one of the bottom three spenders in the Championship, both in terms of wages and transfer spending, but have managed to secure another campaign in the second tier.

Millwall boss Harris said: “We need to compete at this level, in what is one of the top five or six leagues in the world. “We need to make sure we are more competitive next season. “Last year we performed a miracle within the football industry to get to eighth and an outside chance of promotion.

“This year reality set in for us. To be better, we need to move forward certainly. “I think last year the momentum from winning promotion carried us into that season. We brought in some fresh players and they performed really well as a group.

We had very few injuries and there was real continuity in the team. “This season we have had injuries at key moments and conceded far too many late goals. We have not been able to adjust that. We didn’t necessarily have more personnel.

“It has come to a stage for us, where we are, that we need to invest in the squad. “We need to bring players in who have played Championship football and can adapt to Championship football quickly. “Next season we need a change of personnel in the squad.

A lot of players have done really well this year and stepped up when needed. But have we consistently had the strength in depth needed? I don’t think so. It is something we have got to adjust during the summer.”

The Lions’ safety was confirmed after Saturday’s round of fixtures. Their 0-0 draw with Stoke City left Rotherham needing to win at West Brom to keep alive hopes of overhauling the South Londoners – but they lost 3-1.

“When the final whistle went at West Brom-Rotherham there was a bit of relief,” said Harris. “It has been a challenging season – a lot of off-field issues.

“It has been a tussle for us this year. We have had three outstanding seasons where success has followed success. We have been to Wembley for a play-off final, won promotion at Wembley and then done really well in the Championship.

“But as a manager and coach within the game, you always expect a step back at some stage. Ours has been this year. “We talk now about how do we measure success? Is success this year staying in the Championship? Quite possibly. It certainly was to reach the FA Cup quarter-final.

“So we are relieved to stay in the division, but also there is an air of that we want to be better as well. Certainly that is a huge thought of mine towards next season.”

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