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Harris digests Swans defeat

Read from the manager...

1 September 2018

Millwall boss Neil Harris has had some "harsh words" with his group of players following Saturday evening's 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City and has challenged them to respond to the criticism thrown their way.

Courtney Baker-Richardson was shown a straight red card for The Swans in just the fourth minute and after Murray Wallace's first Millwall goal gave The Lions the lead in the 62nd minute, it looked as though the club's unbeaten home record in 2018/19 would continue.

However, the 10 men of Swansea rallied, with Kyle Naughton and Oli McBurnie finding the net to turn the game on its head and claim all three points for the visitors.

The manager summarised the evening by saying: "If anyone in the ground had seen that coming then I wish they would've told me. What more could I have asked for, playing against 10 men for the first 80 minutes?

"Of course, you're going to make the odd poor decision individually and as a group, but Swansea dug in and made it difficult for us to break them down.

"We got our noses in front and then I couldn't see us conceding. We never looked in any danger. There was always the threat on the counter-attack but it never looked like it was going to come.

"I thought I had enough leadership in the group to manage the situation, but you can't explain individual errors. You can praise quality, but I'll talk again about the mindset of my players as a group - did the players do enough as a group when we didn't have the ball in the last 15 minutes, did they do enough to make sure we didn't concede? They didn't."

Harris went on to explain that while the international break may have come at a good time, he would rather continue on Tuesday night, and also stated that he "doesn't buy" into the opinion that The Lions have been unluckly in recent matches.

"I'd rather play Leeds here on Tuesday and go again, but the break gives us a chance to allow the new players in the group to have a chance to get some work in. We couldn't have asked for a better game than Leeds United here in two weeks' time. Yes, it will be a difficult game but it will be a Millwall atmosphere.

"My players have to respond to the criticism that has come their way, with three defeats in six days. I've had some harsh words with individuals and the group.

"You can't legislate for what has happened today. I think my goalkeeper has touched the ball six times, twice to pick the ball out of the net. We can say we're unlucky as every error we make - goals per chances conceded ratio at the moment is unbelievably ridiculous for us - is punished, but I don't buy into that.

"You make your own luck and at the moment, the mentality hasn't been good enough and has to be better from my group of players. I won't expect anything less."

Jordan Archer was left out of the matchday squad and the manager cleared things up by saying: "Jordan was left out of the starting XI - I chose not to put him in it. As I've just alluded to, the mentality of the group is not good enough, so David Martin came into the squad."

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