Millwall midfielder disagrees with Forest manager’s assessment – and looks ahead to Ipswich Town test

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Ryan Tunnicliffe says Millwall deserved more credit from Forest boss Aitor Karanka for the way they controlled the first 45 minutes of Saturday’s 1-0 win.

The 25-year-old netted the only goal of the game.

Karanka claimed afterwards that his players had been affected by speculation over his future.

But Tunnicliffe responded: “That’s probably doing us a disservice. We saw from the start they wanted to play out from the back – and nobody can come here and have an easy ride at The Den.

“We’re going to have a high press and we rattled them in the first five or 10 minutes. We were closing the keeper down and Lenny [Ryan Leonard] got booked from that.

“That really set the tempo for us. The early goal set us on our way and we did quite well to keep that intensity up and keep them out.”

Next up for the Lions is a trip to Championship basement club Ipswich Town on New Year’s Day.

“Regardless of how many points or where you are in this division, every game is tough,” said Tunnicliffe.

“They’ve got a new manager and have picked up a few points recently. We won’t be going there expecting to win, we’ll be going with the same mentality we do for every game – which is to start fast and play with a lot of energy. We’ll see where it takes us.

“[A win] would be putting us in the direction we want to be going – up the table. Nine points from three games doesn’t come along too often in this division. We’ll be going there full of confidence.”

Tunnicliffe has had a run in the Millwall side with Shaun Williams ruled out with ankle ligament damage.

“There was a bit of fortune that I got in with Willo’s injury and Lenny’s suspension,” he said. “The plan is to play as well as I can and stay in the team when everyone is back fit – give the gaffer a headache in making that decision.”

Tunnicliffe praised the Millwall home support for driving the players on in the closing stages of a nervy encounter against Forest.

“The last 10 minutes they were willing us on. It gives you that bit extra when you are feeling tired – we have put that much into it. The crowd can really help us a lot. I hear it and it makes me want to run that extra yard to try and do something.

“If that running about or blocking shots it does give you a lift.”