Neil Harris pleased with players after Millwall’s draw with Luton – and explains why Pearce was dropped

BY JAKE SANDERS

Neil Harris was thrilled with the reaction of his “outstanding” Millwall players in the second-half of their 1-1 draw with Luton Town on Wednesday night.

Tom Bradshaw put the Lions ahead on the hour-mark, but Callum McManaman struck in the 86th minute to leave Harris’ men winless on the road in the Championship this season and without a victory for seven league matches.

“Ultimately I am pleased – the second-half performance by the group of players was outstanding,” Harris said. “Disappointed to concede so late? Yes, definitely. But even after conceding we responded and finished the game really strongly.

“I want to praise my players tonight. We changed the shape at half-time, we have had to change a few times during games to try and match them. The reaction from the players was outstanding and two draws on the road, both games we could have won, but it’s a positive.”

Harris changed the shape at the break, introducing Ben Thompson, who was benched for a second successive match, in place of Connor Mahoney.

The Lions chief said: “The change at half-time was to match their diamond up, to bring Ben Thompson on and ultimately I brought a midfielder on for a winger. It enabled us to win the ball higher up the pitch and be more creative. I am delighted with a lot of individual performances tonight and the group.

“We have not won for a period, but we have only lost three games all season in the course of 90 minutes. We need to be more consistent. We were excellent first-half at Huddersfield and we were excellent second-half tonight, we just need to drag that out over the course of 90 minutes.

“We have not conceded a lot of goals, but we have not scored enough goals, that has been our issue and tonight, first-half again, players weren’t positive enough and they have to be more positive, they have to find that confidence themselves.”

Alex Pearce was left out of the starting line-up for the first time this season and the Lions boss explained his reasons for bringing in Shaun Hutchinson.

“Hutch has been ready since pre-season, Pearcy has deserved to play,” he said. “He has been the captain and the leader, he hasn’t done a lot wrong. I just felt tonight against Luton’s shape, against the split strikers, that Hutch’s mobility would certainly help us tonight. It was a very strong performance.”

PICTURES BY BRIAN TONKS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *