BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Gary Rowett has provided insight into the way Millwall’s coaching staff review matches – with the players also getting a chance to have their say.
The Lions ensured they went into the international break on a positive note as they beat Charlton 2-1 on Saturday – Matt Smith’s 91st-minute header settling the derby.
Rowett has won both home matches since succeeding Neil Harris in the Den hotseat last month.
The 45-year-old said: “We are big on reviewing games and sharing that review with the players. It’s not something everyone does, but we do.
“There are so many games, particularly in the Championship, that you can play one and move on – you don’t sometimes tend to talk about what we need to do better.
“We have a game plan, which we speak about in the lead up to the match and then review it.
“Usually all the staff will have watched the game by Sunday, so that come Monday we have a meeting edited around what we’ve asked the players to do and how well we’ve done it. We show them some clips – it wouldn’t be that long – of things we did well and also things we didn’t do so well.
“It’s the process we’ve used and it’s been quite effective over the last few years.
“The players get used to it and they will find it useful. It gives them a bit of a voice as well, just to question one or two things.”
Millwall were more emphatic winners in Rowett’s first match at the helm – a 2-0 victory in SE16 over Stoke City.
The Lions manager admitted that they did not have things totally their own way against Charlton.
And while he was pleased with a blistering start – which saw Shaun Hutchinson head the hosts in front – the former Addicks centre-back is seeking a little more composure.
“Yes we want to move the ball quickly and yes we want intensity and to attack quickly,” he said.
“But what you notice is when we have just made an extra pass or two we have got into a better position than when we’ve tried to force balls into areas.
“It is a fine line. We don’t want to become a team that just try to keep the ball for the sake of keeping it. I don’t feel that is, or will be, our strength.
“We had a spell against Charlton for 20 minutes when we tried to force the ball. I call it going into safe mode. We played the ball forward without any real quality. Then you’ve lost possession and you’re back on the defence again.
“In every game we’ve had spells where we’ve moved it really well and been pleased – and we’ve had spells in each one where we’ve dropped in a little too deep defensively or we’ve not kept the ball. And they tend to coincide a little bit together.When you can’t get out, unless you use quality to get out, then often you’re back defending again.
“Those are a couple of things that we’ve spoken about. We haven’t tried to overkill it. I don’t want players thinking they’ve suddenly got to make lots and lots of passes, because that certainly isn’t our aim – just to make a few better decisions to give us a bit more control.
“That came out of the Charlton game. Watching it back, it was pretty obvious where and when we do it. But at the same time we did a lot of things really well.”
Millwall have collected 17 points at home – only Preston have managed more (23). Leeds United and Cardiff have matched the South Londoners.
“You know the home fans are so passionate and help the team at home,” said Rowett.
“We had periods against Charlton, at 1-1, where your fans could easily start getting a little frustrated and go against you. But you feel they are always going to try and spur you on to win the games. It’s been a big factor.
“Everyone talks about the away form but we’ve played one away and lost one, and that was a very close game that we could have got something out of.
“I can only really judge the team on one game and not what they’ve done before.
“We need to try and find a solution that helps us to pick points up away from home. Because if we can get something reasonable, then with the home form – which we’ve got to maintain – that’s going to give us an incredible chance to build a good tally.
“The Den has always been a place you never really enjoy going. We’ve got to use the flip side and make sure we don’t disappoint any away team.”