Neil Harris has voiced his frustrations over certain aspects of his Millwall team’s play in last weekend’s derby loss to QPR – turning over possession too easily being one of his major bugbears.
The Lions head to rock bottom Huddersfield Town on Saturday looking to halt a two-game losing streak.
Manager Harris was happy with the change of shape to 3-5-2 against QPR, matching up with the in-form west Londoners, feeling it helped to largely contain their attacking threat.
But he added: “What was clear is that we made too many unforced errors with the ball, as in players giving the ball away cheaply. It doesn’t matter what system you play, the individual players have to do better and take more responsibility.
“That comes from me picking the right players and if it isn’t always the most popular players with the fanbase then that’s the way it is.
“Secondly, you can’t legislate as a team for an individual error. I really feel for Bart [Bialkowski], because he has made one error in the game. It’s a pass he wouldn’t normally make. He gives the ball away and they score.
“The majority of the players gave the ball away cheaply at the weekend, in a fast and furious derby, but there is no consequence of it. The goalie does it and it ends up in the back of the goal.
“He’ll be the first to say it is the position he plays and he takes responsibility.
“I was more annoyed with other individuals for their performances.
“The timing of the goal frustrated me. We had to work hard to get a foothold in a game which was scrappy at times. QPR were good for 10 minutes before half time, but it was more about us giving the ball away and turning over possession too cheaply.
“Other than that there was nothing in the game. We just wrestled back the ascendency before our goal. You could feel the change of atmosphere in the stadium – the fans responding to a bit of pressure – and we give a second goal away; that’s the killer. You’re chasing it again and fans are waiting for it.
“We had enough opportunities after that to get something from the game. Jed had a really good chance on his weaker left foot. Shane Ferguson should have hit the target on the follow up. Was it a handball or not on Jed’s shot? Coops, Smithy and Aiden all had headers which I’d have expected them to do better with than they did.
“Between the five chances we had between 75 and 90 minutes, I’d have expected us to equalise.
“I was right at the time [with his view immediately after the match]. We were poor in possession of the ball, in our build-up play and the timing of the goal really cost us.
“When you’re playing a side who have won three in a row and pushing to get in the top three, you can’t afford to give teams an opportunity.”
The Lions are yet to win away this season. Huddersfield only have one point on the board in the current campaign.
“We’re still building and have got a new group of players – but because we didn’t win games we were well on top in, it adds pressure when you don’t win in a while,” said Harris.
“We go into two games against teams in the bottom group [Huddersfield and Luton Town], below us, and I expect my players to go and perform in those tough away fixtures.”
PICTURE BY BRIAN TONKS