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Harris lauds character and desire after last-gasp Sheffield United scenes

Boss discusses matching top sides, Cooper and Brentford this Friday

13 April 2019

Neil Harris has commended the way Millwall again matched a top side in the Sky Bet Championship after a dramatic last-gasp equaliser to draw 1-1 at Sheffield United.

Jake Cooper's 94th-minute leveller earned a crucial point after Gary Madine's opener shortly into the second half, sparking jubilant scenes in the away end at Bramall Lane.

"I would have been devastated to be here talking about a defeat, given the way we played in the last half an hour," Harris says.

"We knew it would be tough coming here today - Sheffield United were the best side to come to The Den this season, and deservedly beat us in the reverse fixture. I made my mind up there and then that I would play five at the back when we came up here.

"It was a big ask for Conor [McLaughlin] coming back in when he hasn't played a lot of football in the last four months, and I was really pleased with his contribution. I took him off just because we needed to readjust our shape."

The manager again praises the manner in which the team "dug in", after recovering from Ben Marshall's missed penalty late on at 1-0, an incident which saw John Egan sent off for a deliberate handball.

"The players dug in again. Whatever system you play against them, they find a way of hurting you - they're that good.

"They opened us up a couple of times in the first half, but we didn't panic and we adjusted things at half-time.

"They had that spell at the beginning of the second half, and they took their chance really well, after a great move - although it came from our misplaced pass. But we responded, kept going until the end with the character and spirit expected of a Millwall team, and we got better and better. Yes, we missed a penalty, but he handled the ball on the line as it was going in to be 1-1. I'd back Ben Marshall again to take a pressure penalty - it wasn't to be this time - but again, we didn't go under, we reacted and fully deserved our equaliser."

Harris points out the way The Lions have matched top-level opposition at times this season, and looks straight ahead to Brentford's visit to The Den this Good Friday.

"At this stage of the season, in this atmosphere, it was a great effort. I think that just shows that despite us being in the bottom six of the division, we are a team that is playing really well.

"We outplayed West Brom, and went toe-to-toe with Sheffield United's shape, adjusted three times and were better each time. We did the same at Leeds - we are playing without fear at the moment.

"Whilst I thought The Den was a bit edgy the other night in a competitive fixture, QPR changed to try and combat us. We have to continue like that in our final five games - three of those vitally at The Den. We quickly come away from this one today to Brentford - another London derby against a terrific footballing side - but we need the points. The atmosphere that was built today and against West Brom will be crucial."

The boss finally touches on another goal for Cooper - netting another for his bulking tally this campaign.

"When you're 11v10, you have to take gambles.

"You have to come out of your comfort zone, and Jake did that.

"All season, Jake is unlucky not to be into double figures. His goals and assists have been vital for us."

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