Shaun Hutchinson on Millwall collecting away point, why his partnership with Jake Cooper needs work and a reason to stay confident

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Shaun Hutchinson felt Millwall showed some of the character traits demanded by boss Neil Harris in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Bristol City.

The Lions were missing a number of first-team regulars at Ashton Gate but Shaun Williams’ equaliser 12 minutes from time picked up a Championship point.

“There wasn’t much action in the final third but we showed resilience and did the basics well,” said Hutchinson, who needed stitches in a cut above his right eye suffered in last Tuesday’s 2-0 home reverse to Birmingham.

“That is what the gaffer has been wanting from us. He has kind of said we came away from the basics. Things weren’t looking right – we were looking after ourselves and not the team.

“Today [Sunday] we went back to being a solid Millwall team which is hard to beat, tough and well-organised.”

Hutchinson and central defensive partner Jake Cooper were among Millwall’s top performers – although the latter was unlucky to score an own goal seven minutes into the second half.

“Moro [Steve Morison] had said before the game: ‘Whatever happens, happens – don’t worry about it, we’ll be alright’,” explained Hutchinson. “When they scored we didn’t let it bother us too much. We knew chances would come – we just had to make sure they didn’t score again.

“It’s never nice to do that [score an own goal]. But he picked himself up and plays a lovely, accurate diagonal on to Moro’s head and we score from it.

“You could say he evened things out, but we all do it. It’s just what happens. The team showed great spirit to bounce back.

“It was a good partnership [him and Cooper] last year but it hasn’t been that great this year. We’re trying to constantly remind ourselves what we did well last season and make sure it isn’t the thing you see so often – that one season you are doing well and then you start struggling.

“Thankfully we have got something to build on. In regard to where we are in the table, we’re not far off where we were last year. We need to keep believing we can go on a run, like we did last year. We have got the players and coaching staff to really push on with that.

“It is going to be hard to do what we did last year – that was really good. But we’re not a team to shy away from it. We are fighting for every point in every game.

“When you are down there it becomes a little bit harder because your confidence is maybe not as high – teams comes more confident to run you over. We need to battle back, take points and get that respect we deserve.”

Millwall produced a storming second half of the 2017-18 campaign to only narrowly miss the play-offs.

And Hutchinson reckons a slow start just seems to be in Millwall’s DNA.

“I’ve been here for three years and literally every year I have been here we have made a slow start and kicked on,” he said. “It’s not a good thing, you don’t want to rely on it. But for some reason it just works.

“Maybe that’s why we’re not as panicky as other people.

“We’ve got a bunch of good lads. When we lose we’re all gutted – no-one is not bothered. We’re genuinely hurting as much as the fans.

“A point away from home is not too bad.”

IMAGE BY BRIAN TONKS