BY JAKE SANDERS
Shaun Williams spoke to the Millwall dressing room before Saturday’s 1-0 win over Reading and described it as a “cup final” according to manager Neil Harris.
The Lions came into the game level on points with the Royals and without a Championship victory for eight games, but moved above them and out of the relegation zone thanks to a stunning free-kick from Jed Wallace.
Reading’s chances of taking anything from the contest were severely damaged after Tyler Blackett’ early red card, only for team-mate Leandro Bacuna to follow suit just before the end.
“We have played really well and got no rewards,” Harris said. “We have played really well and got some really bad luck. So I am not going to bemoan my players.
“Today was not a great performance. We showed a lot of heart, energy and desire. We showed moments of quality. We should and could have gone and got another one or two. We saw the edginess in the stadium and in the players as well. I understand that. We have been in the lead so many times and thrown it away. Today I would say ‘well done’ to my players.
“It was a cup final today – Shaun Williams used the words before the game. Playing against a team directly above us, on the same points. You don’t want to lose out – it’s a huge three points.
“It was a typical Boxing Day atmosphere to start with. Little bit flat – waiting for something to happen. Ryan Leonard set the spark in the first minute. He was excellent today. He set the spark in the first minute with the closing down.
“The fans got behind us, we scored, they had the red card, and everyone then probably sat back down again, waiting for it to happen. And as we showed against Birmingham, it doesn’t just happen. If you get the second goal it makes life a lot easier for yourselves.”
IMAGES BY BRIAN TONKS