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Pearce: “The effort, desire and application were outstanding”

Captain discusses West Brom point and return to The Hawthorns in Carabao Cup

12 August 2019

Alex Pearce has credited the togetherness and work-rate of the Millwall side, following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion.

The point on the road came in The Lions’ first away game of the Sky Bet Championship season, equalising through Matt Smith after falling behind 12 minutes into the second half.

“My take on Saturday’s game is that it was very positive in general,” Pearce says.

“The effort, desire and application were outstanding. Obviously, West Brom had the lion’s share of the possession – something we expected to be the case – but they didn’t really have that many chances and didn’t really hurt us too much in key areas.

“We knew it would be a hot atmosphere, and that it could get rocking if we gave them any chances early on. It was key for us to keep the crowd as quiet as we could, and I thought we did that really well.”

The skipper has pointed out areas to improve upon for the new-look Lions squad, and highlights the positive reaction through the team to claw back and earn the result at The Hawthorns.

“Yes, we can be better on the ball; yes, we can be better with our first pass out in transition onto the counter-attack – we’re a work in progress – but I think from a basic point of view that in the second game of the season, the work-rate was outstanding to a man.

“We’re disappointed with the goal – we don’t want to be conceding from set-plays this year. To defend with such a great shape all game and to then concede from a set-play was probably the only disappointing aspect of the afternoon.

“Having said that, the reaction from us to going behind was fantastic, and that’s going to be vital for us this year. The subs who came off the bench were excellent – Smithy and Jon Dadi [Bodvarsson] were great impact players and they made the difference today.”

Pearce states what is key is how the team recover from trailing positions this season, and credited every individual display from Neil Harris’ side.

“Our spirit and determination to come back is key, because we will go behind in games at times – especially away from home, and even at The Den.

“That’s when we need everyone to get behind us when things do get difficult for us, because no team is perfect and we will have setbacks. But it’s about how you react, and we showed we have a great team spirit about us and feeling in the camp.

“Everyone knows West Brom will be up there this year, and we were under no illusions that it would be a tough game. But everyone was up for it, and nobody let us down. It’s massive for myself as captain to make sure the spirit is high around the place. I feel like that’s part of my duty as captain to ensure that the boys are altogether, and at the moment we’re showing that, with the way we’re working together for each other as a team, fighting for each other and defending well.”

The defender finally discusses the demanding schedule as August continues, beginning with Tuesday night’s immediate return to West Brom for the First Round of the Carabao Cup.

“We know August is a tough month, the first month of the Championship season. There are a lot of games, and you’re going to need your squad. We return to West Brom on Tuesday and we’ll be focused for that.

“Whatever the manager decides to do on Tuesday, it’ll be an opportunity for boys to play, and we’ll look to come and do well, and get into the next round.

“After that, we’ll turn our attention back to the League for a massive game at The Den against Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday.”

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