Millwall manager Neil Harris – Safety net has gone in Championship drop fight battle

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Neil Harris admitted that Millwall had lost their “safety net” after today’s 3-1 loss to Norwich City saw their gap over the Championship bottom three cut to just one point.

The Lions suffered a third straight reverse and Rotherham and Reading, the two sides immediately below them, both won.

It means that Millwall have only the slenderest of advantages ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Bolton Wanderers.

Harris said: “It is about us taking responsibility and about us getting results – not relying on other people. There is no better place then Bolton next week to take responsibility ourselves.

“What I do know about this time of the season is that whether you are at the top or the bottom of the league, you can never rely on other results. All they do is make you feel a little bit better or a little bit worse.

“That’s a reality check for everybody. That four-point cushion we had with the goal difference as well was a little bit of a safety net for us. With Reading and Rotherham winning that safety net has disappeared.

Millwall created chances on Saturday but their opponents – who moved back to the top of the league table – were ruthless with their finishing.

“That’s the difference, isn’t it?” said Harris. “I thought we played really well and competed really well but against teams at the top they find their way to your goal. Their third goal [by Teemu Pukki] is outstanding – the weight of the pass, the timing of the pass, the timing of the runs – it’s as good as you’ll see at this level.

“What carries Norwich at the moment is their attacking threat is superior in the division. Really, really good. Leeds last night was a masterclass of pressing. Sheffield United are the best side who have come here this year. I’ve seen some really good teams – Norwich have certainly got the potential to go all the way.

“But I don’t expect us to concede the second goal – that’s poor and that hurt us.

“Our efforts on goal you saw scrambles on the line, blocked shots and blocked headers – getting around the six-yard box and not getting that final end product. The top teams, they put them in the net – that was the difference today.

“I was really pleased with the first 15 minutes, we really put Norwich under pressure. At times we got the mix between being patient and disciplined in our shape – getting after the ball and creating turnovers – was good. We countered a few times but lacked that final cross or pass to get the effort on goal.

“The players were outstanding today, in so many ways. They competed physically, played some good stuff and got the ball forward at the right times – forced numerous corners and were a threat from set-plays.

“There were some really good performances – Ben Thompson was outstanding, he was excellent in the middle of the park for us. But we got beat in a game of football, and that’s what hurts.”

PICTURES BY BRIAN TONKS