Millwall boss Neil Harris’ post-FA Cup reaction: I feel for David Martin

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Neil Harris attached no blame to David Martin after Millwall’s FA Cup exit.

The Lions were leading 2-0 until Jurgen Locadia reduced the deficit late on. 

And it was Solly March’s free-kick in the fifth minute of injury time which was accidentally palmed into his own net by Martin.

Harris said: “What an outstanding performance for 94 minutes.

“First and foremost I feel for David Martin because he was excellent through the game – commanding his box and he made some good saves.

“He made a slight error of judgement and it’s cost us. He is a top pro, one of the nicest fellas I’ve come across as a player, coach or a manager – no problem with that.

“The way my team played – the running ability, some of our play with the ball and the two goals we scored – what gives me most pride is we were better than Brighton.”

Asked how Martin felt, Harris replied: “What do you think? He is devastated. He’s one of the best pros I’ve come across.

“He has made a mistake and put his hand up [to that] but he hasn’t let the boys down. I’m more disappointed with our defending for the first goal – it wasn’t good enough in the wide areas and in the penalty area.

“He’s made a slight error. His errors looks worse than others but if forwards are more clinical in one-v-one chances, if defenders  make better challenges in wide areas – if we get closer in the box for the first goal, then the second one doesn’t become a problem anyway.

Millwall v Brighton & Hove Albion, Emirates FA Cup – Quarter Final, The Den, 17 March 2019.
Photograph by Keith Gillard

“We missed two one-v-ones before we scored our first goal. We could’ve been out of sight.”

Harris had taken offensive players off in the closing stages as he looked to protect a 2-0 lead – Lee Gregory, Jed Wallace and Aiden O’Brien making way.

It left the Lions set up more defensively when Brighton managed to take it into extra time.

“Hindsight is wonderful,” said Harris. “But our opportunity to win the quarter-final was at 2-0 up after 89 minutes. Would I change anything I did? No, not at all – because the 11 players on the pitch should’ve been capable of seeing out a two-goal lead with the amount of defensive players and leadership on the pitch.”

Harris confirmed that Jordan Archer missed today’s game because he was ill.

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