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Harris hails 'brilliant' Millwall performance

28 March 2016

The boss reviews his team's victory over Burton Albion

Neil Harris hailed a "brilliant performance" from his Millwall side as The Lions beat League leaders Burton Albion 2-0 at The Den on Monday night.

Aiden O'Brien and Lee Gregory scored inside the opening 18 minutes to secure a third consecutive home win for Millwall, who climb back up to fifth in the table.

Nigel Clough's Burton side huffed and puffed throughout the game but were unable to truly trouble a resolute and impressive Lions defence, and the Millwall boss was delighted with his side's display.

"I thought it was a brilliant test for my team tonight - a real test of character," Harris said.

"You do hope results go your way and they didn't, which we knew before kick-off. The challenge to the boys was to go out and put a marker down to everybody else, but also to put in another proper Millwall performance.

"We focused quite a lot on Burton's high line and our style of play of getting in behind with Lee Gregory. It was taken into consideration with my team selection on Saturday. We knew Lee would be really important tonight and I thought him and Steve Morison led the line extremely well, as they have done for the majority of the season.

"Overall I thought it was a fantastic result and a brilliant performance.

"We're aggressive and organised and I think you can see the spirit in the group. If somebody does something wrong then they are not afraid to tell them and it's accepted. That's good and it's the way it has got to be in our dressing room. And when somebody does really well there is a lot of people waiting to tell them and pat them on the back, and that's key.

"We're getting much better at covering each other's positions and that doesn't just come from desire - that comes from knowledge of the game. It's important that they learn all the time and that the senior players use all their experience to guide the team through difficult little patches in the game. There were times tonight when I thought the centre-halves in particular were outstanding and what epitomised it for me was Joe Martin's back stick header against (Lucas) Akins." 

Harris reserved special praise for goalscorer O'Brien and also Shaun Williams, who produced a wonderful pass for Gregory in the build up to the second goal.

On O'Brien, Harris added: I believe in the young man. He's got a lot of ability, class and energy, and he is a young man in his first full season.

"He had a blistering start when he came back from injury and sustained it for a few months, and he's just had a little dip in form. I played him through a bit of it then I took him out and I've put him back in the last two games, and it gives me real competition for places and food for thought with international players coming back.

"It wasn't just his goal, which was an outstanding finish, it was his overall performance which was very good."

"I thought he did really well in the middle of the park," the boss added when discussing Williams. "His ball for Greggs' goal was outstanding. The weight of pass and his vision to see the ball was befitting of Leagues higher than this. He has got that quality.

"I said before about the balance I've got in midfield with Shaun, Jimmy (Abdou) and Ben (Thompson). They all bring different traits."

Harris admits that he now has a welcome selection dilemma for Saturday's trip to Colchester United, when Jimmy Abdou and Shane Ferguson will both be available again following international duty.

"Jimmy has without doubt been one of our most consistent performers over the last couple of months and Ferguson's ability and quality has been a real plus since he signed," Harris said.

"We'll check on them Thursday when they come back in from the international break and we then focus on Colchester. 

"Selection dilemmas? Yes, definitely, which is brilliant for me at this stage of the season.

"I've just said to the boys that was a fantastic result and performance, but we need to get back to winning ways (away from home)."

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