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Harris lauds Fulham display as Lions suffer first defeat

The manager analyses first loss of the season

21 August 2019

Neil Harris has praised the performance of Fulham on Wednesday night as his Millwall side went down 4-0 at Craven Cottage.

A brace from Ivan Cavaleiro, along with an Anthony Knockaert header and ALeksandar Mitrovic's penalty secured the points comfortably for the hosts, who displayed a ruthless performance against The Lions.

"Let's be honest, Fulham were better than us from start to finish," Harris told millwallfc.co.uk.

"We didn't help ourselves, but there will be teams who come [to Craven Cottage] this season and get beaten like we did. A couple of the goals were fantastic - really great passages of play - but we tried to contain them and counter and we couldn't quite use the ball well enough.

"The last two goals were very disappointing from our point of view with the build-up. The positives were that we were still in the game at half-time, came out in the second half and for 10 minutes it was all Millwall after changing to 4-4-2. We were much better, we should have scored and it would have been a different game. But Fulham were better than us, and deserved the points."

The manager explains the tactical decisions made prior to and during the contest, as the game progressed.

"We picked a team to be sort of defensively sound. With the 4-2-3-1 we tried to have a solid base and to play on the counter, and I just felt whichever way we went, we couldn't get enough pressure on the ball.

"I thought Thommo [Ben Thompson] and Tom Bradshaw did a great job of dealing with the centre-halves and Harry Arter to stop them playing forward, and then we naturally stepped higher and more aggressive after bringing on Smithy [Matt Smith] alongside Bradders. That worked, but individual errors cost us goals in the second half."

Harris has explained the importance of remaining upbeat, as The Lions immediately prepare for Saturday's long trip to the Riverside Stadium to take on Middlesbrough.

"I said to the boys after good performances that we don't get too high when we win, and don't get too low when we lose. I have to heed those words myself, and I've just said to the group that we're not going to overthink it or judge too many players.

"Don't get me wrong - I care - it's a disappointing defeat for Millwall Football Club and for the fans who I thought were again fantastic tonight. But we're playing against a team who we're not judged upon playing against.

"Fulham should still be in the Premier League with the money they spent, they really underperformed last season, and I stand by my words that they're going to be a top side in this division. Whoever finishes above them will be promoted. But we've done really well up to now, standards have been really good without the ball, and we've been defensively sound. Tonight we got pulled from pillar to post against very good players, so there's a lot for us to work on, and it's now about a good reaction Saturday against Middlesbrough."

Finally, the boss gives an update on the injury to Jiri Skalak, with the winger forced off in the first half of his first League start of the season.

"Jiri's in a boot now," Harris states.

"It's not going to be great news. He's had the shot in the first half and has been caught with a tackle, and it looks like ligament damage.

"We'll see how he goes, but he won't be involved on Saturday."


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