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Harris: "We need to find that clinical edge"

Manager reflects on stalemate with Sheffield Wednesday at The Den

12 February 2019

Neil Harris has commended some of the football played by his Millwall side in Tuesday night's stalemate with Sheffield Wednesday at The Den, but says his team must add a 'calmness' to their play for the remainder of the season.

Harris states that whilst The Lions dominated proceedings at The Den, his side ultimately need to remain assured in decisive periods during games.

"So much of the play was really good - in the first half, some of the football was outstanding," the manager says.

"We got into really good areas following on from the second half at Swansea at the weekend but we didn't get our noses in front. Sheffield Wednesday were better in the second half, though we had a couple of really good chances from Ben Marshall and Steve Morison.

"I said to the players that we just fell short, but it was a strong performance - Jordan [Archer] kicked the ball once in 26 first-half minutes before they forced a corner. We became a little edgy in the last 15 minutes, as did the stadium, which I understand because of the number of late goals we've conceded. We just need to find a bit more of a bravery and a calmness to our play while we're scrapping for points until the end of the season.

The boss has expressed his delight at how The Lions are tough to come out on top against, but reiterates that a "clinical edge" must be found in order to turn draws into victories.

"The clean sheet is important - if you can't win a game, you certainly can't lose. The chances they had on goal came from putting ourselves under pressure, which is something we will definitely be looking to address.

"But we are difficult to beat, which is important for us. I said after the 0-0 draw here with Rotherham that it was an excellent defensive display against their physicality, and we gave very little away against Swansea but an unlucky goal.

"We have to find that clinical edge, that's for sure. Playing without a big man up front allows us to have more passages of play with the ball on the floor, and we get into really good areas. But our set-plays were something which wasn't up to the usual standard, and with the deliveries and big presences we have, we need to be clinical with what is our main route to goal."

Harris has praised the display of Aiden O'Brien, who came into the side as the sole change, replacing Ben Thompson and playing in an advanced role in behind Lee Gregory.

"Aiden was excellent. Thommo [Ben Thompson] has been brilliant, I just felt that away from home, having the legs and solidity of three central midfielders was important. I thought that Aiden could play a similar role to Ben, but with a bit more of an attacking threat. He had his moments, particularly with the effort he created for himself when he cut inside and the 'keeper made the save.

"Aiden's that type of player who will split the fanbase at times, because while he will give the ball away on occasion, he will also beat two players and make a pass or score a goal - he's that sort of player. He's come through our ranks, and tonight I was pleased with his performance."

Touching on Gregory, who was forced off after going down in the latter stages, Harris has given an update on his leading scorer.

"We think it's just a little bit of cramp. We'll have to see how he goes over the next 48 hours going into the weekend."


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