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Harris reflects on Stoke and discusses Bristol City

The manager speaks of the implications of goalless draw with The Potters

27 April 2019

Neil Harris has given his reflection of Saturday's goalless draw with Stoke City at The Den, and discusses the impact of the team this season ahead of Tuesday's potentially crucial encounter with Bristol City on home soil.

The stalemate between Millwall and The Potters means there is still work to do for Harris' men to beat the drop in the Sky Bet Championship.

"We knew we had to be competitive and not open up too early," the manager says.

"Despite the troubles they have, Stoke's teamsheet is frightening as this level and they have an excellent squad of players. We had to ensure we weren't picked off because of how good they are with the ball.

"We had to be defensively sound, aim for the clean sheet and then we looked to try and nick something when it came along."

Harris explains his tactical decisions throughout the game, and fights the corner of his players that they have "given everything" so far this season.

"In the first half, we couldn't get the press high enough up the pitch, and couldn't impose our gameplan on them at all apart from in the first 10-12 minutes.

"I just felt that at half-time we had to change shape to the 4-diamond-2, pushing Jed [Wallace] a bit higher. I was really pleased in the second half - what we lacked in confidence with the ball in a pressure situation, we made up for with application, legs and desire.

"We know we're not in the greatest form as a team, and we've had a tough year, but these players have given everything for their football club and fanbase. They want to be safe, they wanted a home win in front of our supporters, and now we must look towards the Rotherham result and go again Tuesday."

The boss amplifies the importance of our midweek meeting with Lee Johnson's Play-Off-chasing Robins, calling on the supporters to replicate their vocal backing of The Lions.

"I'm the first to admit we're not playing great. We had a little spell where we were good, and whilst it's nervy, the boys are great and the dressing room is brilliant.

"You can see when they get out onto the grass that there's so much at stake, and they're not stupid, they understand that.

"When I call on the fans to get behind the team, I know it's hard because everyone shares the nerves. We'll see what we have to do against Bristol City, but we will look for a performance. I know we can be better - but what we need Tuesday is a big midweek atmosphere under the lights at The Den. We're playing on a likely zippier pitch against a very good side in Bristol City. We need everyone finishing our home campaign on a high." 

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