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Millwall will use Play-Off pain to their advantage, Harris insists

29 May 2016

Manager says "We will come back stronger"

Lions boss Neil Harris admitted that emotions were raw immediately after seeing his side's promotion dreams shattered in Sunday's League One Play-Off Final at Wembley.

The loss of influential centre-back Byron Webster just 25 minutes before kick-off was compounded by an injury to left-back Joe Martin during the first-half which made a tough test for Millwall even harder.

Chopper said: "There's no excuses. Barnsley deserved to win the game but clearly those absences did affect us. All your preparation with the team on set plays at both ends goes out of the window.

"But we were able to bring our club captain Tony Craig back in and after conceding two early goals we got ourselves back into the game and I felt at half-time we could find an equaliser and then go on to win.

"It didn't quite work out like that, although there were more chances created at both ends. The players have bounced back from adversity throughout the season and did so to a point, again today.

"The crowd got behind us once we pulled a goal back and created genuine belief that we could still achieve something.

"The message to the players is that we are proud of what we have achieved, but just now the defeat is hard to take.

"My job now is to build a better squad for next season and make sure that we come out with all guns blazing. Several of us were around in 2009 and 2010 when we used the disappointment of that first Play-Off defeat as a spur to win promotion a year later.

"We have to look at lessons we have learned this year, myself included, and become a better, fitter, hungrier squad capable of winning game after game next season.

"It won't be easy. It will take time to get over this but I will be a better manager for the experience next season and they will be better players."

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