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Harris: "We're happy with the clean sheet but we know we can perform better"

The boss has his say after Rotherham draw at The Den

2 February 2019

Neil Harris has reflected on Saturday afternoon's goalless draw with Rotherham United at The Den, claiming that whilst he is "delighted" to keep a clean sheet, he knows his team are capable of more impressive displays.

Harris' side maintained their four-point gap over The Millers with the stalemate, and sit 20th in the Sky Bet Championship table.

"I'm delighted with the clean sheet, first and foremost," the manager says.

"I thought we were the better team in the first half, we used the ball well and got into some good areas. We created a few chances, particularly with Marshy [Ben Marshall] hitting the bar early in the game.

"In the second half, Rotherham did what they do well as a big physical team. They put everything into the box from the halfway line and we had to stand strong. The couple of chances they did create - the first one which Jordan [Archer] saved was from a mistake by our boys at the back, and the second one was the overhead kick which led to the melee. We had the chance at the end with Gregs [Lee Gregory], and I'm not sure whether or not their player gets a little touch. But they're the moments where you need it to go in."

The boss remains upbeat regarding limiting Rotherham to a share of the spoils, but admits there was often not "enough composure" from The Lions going forward.

"They limited our opportunities to get balls into the box with a back five, and I said to the players that in the first half we used the ball really well, but in the second half I don't think we were brave enough with it.

"I don't think there was enough composure or enough people looking to go and get the ball and make it happen. We took Ben [Thompson] off after 65 minutes to bring another centre-forward on, but it was hard for Moro [Steve Morison] to affect things too much when they played with three centre-halves.

"We're a little bit disappointed that we haven't taken the three points at home, but we'll look at it as a point gained, and that we've stopped a team below us from taking maximum points."

Harris labels contests with the sides around Millwall as "the tough games" and explains his analysis of each half at The Den.

"These are the tough games. The performance and atmosphere last week was up there with the best ever at this ground, so this had the danger of being after the Lord Mayor's show. I expected the first half to be more like the second half and vice-versa.

"I expected maybe a slower start, and then that we'd get going after a bit of a rollicking. The first half saw us have the play, but in the second half we didn't quite get going.

"But we have 11 points from six games, and that's how we have to look at it as a group. And that's without the late goals that have stopped us taking points recently. We'll look at the positives, but we know we can play better than that."

The manager concludes by having his say on the second-half incident between Jordan Archer and Millers skipper Richard Wood, with the latter seemingly committing a challenge on the goalkeeper which Harris' team took exception to, leading to a brief goalmouth melee.

"I've watched the challenge on Jordan back. I have to be careful what I say, because incidents may look different at different angles - take the penalty incident at Middlesbrough for example, which I initially thought didn't look like a foul but have since seen that it was.

"But I've seen the footage back of the melee, and their captain Richard Wood has lunged in two-footed at about waist-height into Jordan. How the referee gives just a yellow card, I don't know. It's either nothing or a straight red.

"I can see why my players reacted the way they did, and I will support my players one million percent if we were to get into any trouble for that. It'll be interesting to see what the referee thinks when he sees it back."


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