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Harris: "We were outstanding, hopefully this game will be a turning point"

Manager lauds his team's performance in Forest clash

3 October 2018

Millwall boss Neil Harris has praised the 'desire and belief' of his Lions side as they came from two goals down to salvage a draw in a solid display at Nottingham Forest.

Despite dominating chances at the City Ground, Harris' men found themselves two goals down through Forest's only two shots on target with 20 minutes remaining, but earned a deserved point through Shaun Williams and Lee Gregory.

The manager describes The Lions as showing 'everything that's good' about the team.

"The first half - to start with - was a class performance, we showed everything that's good about our team. It was a travesty at half-time that we were losing the game, let alone having not sewn the points up already," Harris says.

"At half-time, there were no raised voices, no issue into conceding the goal. It was about making sure we sustained that pressure.

"You can't just come to Forest and do it over the 90 minutes - you have to stay in the game at times, and when their second goal went in I just thought that was a continuation of our luck so far this season."

Harris points out that elements of luck still remain out of his team's favour, but the match was a vast improvement on previous away displays.

"The boys kept belief - they've been brilliant every day in training, and we got our reward in the end, certainly deserving at least a point.

"We've been on a bad run, and that has been because first and foremost, we've not been good enough individually. That has culminated in poor team performances - certainly on the road.

"Secondly, we've had some horrendous luck. For example, us hitting the bar and not scoring, then [Forest] hitting the bar and the ball bouncing over the line. Then, the penalty which wasn't given to us when their player lifts their arm up - Shaun Williams was penalised last weekend when he blocked a ball that hit him on the arm."

The boss hopes the draw will be a 'turning point', giving The Lions crucial momentum ahead of our return to The Den against Aston Villa on Saturday.

"Hopefully, that equaliser at the end will be a turning point. It's a point gained - that's for sure. It certainly gives us momentum and belief going into a big game at the weekend against Aston Villa.

"I think we showed enough character and ability in the game to carry on making chances. The boys that played here last year know about our performance here last season and creating chances right until the end.

"Shaun Williams' goal epitomised that - showing the desire and hunger to go and score a goal."

Harris highlights the importance of the impact the squad have made as a whole this season, and praises players who have taken their chance in the team.

"As a group at the moment, we're still getting a few things slightly wrong, but we are getting better and that belief and desire in the group is certainly there.

"I was delighted with the boys that started and those who came off the bench - they all made an impact for us. Players like Shane Ferguson - who have only really played in cup games and made a couple of appearances from the bench have come in and taken their chance, playing very well.

"There have been some players who have not quite hit their standards from last year, and whilst one good display doesn't make a season, it does put them in the right direction, and shows that they are good players."

Concluding the reflection of the game, Harris is looking forward to the clash against managerless Villa and maintains confidence in previous performances at The Den this campaign.

"We've always built good steps to get us back on the straight-and-narrow, and we're making those small steps now.

"We have to take momentum into the Villa game in that our games at The Den have been generally very good. Sheffield United probably deserved to beat us on Saturday and our problem has been conceding late goals, but today we were the ones to finish strongly, looking more dangerous - and that's what we need to get back to at The Den.

"We just need to go and put in a Millwall performance on Saturday."


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