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Gregory: “Playing at The Den is still our strength”

Striker reflects on Hull, home form and reaching his goalscoring target

10 December 2018

Lee Gregory insists Millwall remain very strong at The Den, and must improve in the late stages of dominant games.

The striker levelled in the first half at 1-1 for The Lions as they hosted Nigel Adkins’ Hull City, before going on to play out a 2-2 draw after Aiden O’Brien had given Neil Harris’ men a second-half lead.

“It was frustrating, we were the better team,” Gregory says.

“We came out well in the second half, but conceding goals when we’re on top is silly from us – we need to cut that out.

“We came back fighting after half-time and took the lead – we chucked everything at it for 70, 75 minutes, and maybe we sat off a little bit too much, and made another mistake for their [second] goal.”

Gregory denies there is a mentality issue among the squad, and says the aim from now on is to play without apprehension in the closing minutes of tight matches.

The Lions’ leading marksman also says the point gained can act as a ‘stepping stone’ towards two successive upcoming away fixtures at Preston North End and Stoke City.

“The lads in the dressing room seem fine. It’s just late on in games that we seem a bit nervy. In the next game, we just need to get through those last 15, 20 minutes.

“We’ve had two draws now, so that’s two unbeaten games. It’s a stepping stone, and hopefully we can go one better and get the win against Preston next week.”

The 30-year-old maintains that the team are fully capable of beating any opponent at home, and says he and his teammates will work hard to hold onto winning positions.

“Playing at The Den is still our strength. We just seem to keep switching off late in games – if you look at our home games against the likes of Middlesbrough and Swansea, we’ve been the better team, and we just need to get over that last hurdle.

“I’m sure we’re going to start working more on that now as it has become more obvious. We feel more comfortable at home, and we just need to grind a result out.

Asked whether he felt there was a degree of ‘second-season syndrome’ surrounding the squad, Gregory claims the main factor has been the expectation to hit the ground running from a hugely strong second half of last term.

“[An element of] ’second-season syndrome?’ Maybe, maybe not. I think it’s just a case of expecting to do better having done so well last year.

“Expectations were high, so maybe we feel as if we’ve been knocked down a peg or two. We have to go back to basics like last season, and be the best at doing that.”

Gregory’s first-half header on Saturday goes down as his eighth goal of the season, with the striker keen to hit his pre-Christmas goalscoring target and contribute to earning vital points.

“I don’t often score headers, so I’m happy with that,” he says.

“I had a target for goals before Christmas, which I’m not far off. We’ve got a couple of games left before Christmas, so hopefully I can nick a couple more and help the team get the wins.”


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