By Richard Cawley
Neil Harris has admitted the challenges of the summer transfer window has had an unsettling effect on his Millwall squad.
The Lions sold midfielder George Saville to Middlesbrough for a club record £8million on Friday although initially it is a loan switch until the start of January.
But Millwall have also been forced to fend off interest from the Teessiders in winger Jed Wallace as well as Glasgow Rangers making bids for centre-back Jake Cooper.
The Lions have lost their last three Championship matches and Harris was critical of the mentality of some of his squad – confirming after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to 10-man Swansea City that goalkeeper Jordan Archer had been dropped from the matchday 18.
“I’ve been very honest in the last week or so to say it has been a very challenging period for all of us at the football club,” said Millwall manager Harris. “Including the dressing room.
“It has been unsettling at times but something we have had to deal with. We’ll all be better professionals for it in our various roles.
“What it has done is lose our focus a little bit at times in the last few weeks. That focus might not hit you that day or that moment, but over a period it can affect you.
“You’ve clearly seen that in our focus in the away games in Yorkshire [losses to Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday]. We performed fantastically for 80 minutes on Saturday and then made two childish and schoolboy errors – two of the most naive I’ve seen in a long time by players in a Millwall shirt. We end up getting beaten by 10 men.
“That’s the bottom line but we have put the difficult period behind us now.
“The transfer window is shut and I can focus on driving forward in the league. I’ve learned a hell of a lot about this group in that period and football management.
“We will get better for it and that starts in training this week. I can’t wait to get back out there on the training pitch.
“They are a great bunch of players and the reason there has been so much interest is because of what they have achieved in the last two years. They need to continue to grow as players and keep improving – that is my clear message to the group.
“It is my job to make them better players and make them a better Millwall team. I have continuously done that and will continue to do that.”