Millwall boss Neil Harris: Nerves on show in Stoke City stalemate

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Neil Harris admitted his Millwall side showed signs of nerves in today’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City.

The Lions certainly looked edgy in the opening 45 minutes and needed a big save from Dave Martin from Benik Afobe. James McClean struck the bar during that period too.

“What I can say is my Millwall team battled, ran, challenged and competed – they did everything asked of them,” said Harris. “Stoke were better than us first half, no complaints there.

“We couldn’t force the game because they were so good with the ball. Stoke were miles better today than when we went there a couple of months ago.

“We adjusted our shape at half-time – I just felt we had to get a higher press on the ball. We were the better team in the second half.

“Every player gave the ball away. At this stage of the season are there nerves? Yeah – 100 per cent. It was clear to see. We all want so much to be safe and start concentrating on next year – that it means a lot to the players.When they do play with nerves, it shows they do care.

“We didn’t play at our best, and we haven’t for a few games now, but my players care and they are all watching the tellies downstairs and waiting for the results, because that is how much it means for everybody.

“They are not nervous in training, they are great in the changing room – it means a lot to everybody. When you are going for promotion and playing with confidence, you are still nervy. When you are at the other end, you do play with fear. And that’s where you need characters and leaders. I thought my leaders today were excellent.

“I’m delighted with the clean sheet and that could be a really important point.”

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