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Williams: “Saturday was scrappy, but we can build from clean sheet”

Irishman discusses Rotherham stalemate and new three-man midfield

4 February 2019

Shaun Williams admits last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Rotherham United at The Den was a missed opportunity, but says the clean sheet can act as a foundation for a busy run of matches in February.

Despite being unable to break the defence of The Millers, Millwall have gained 11 points from six Sky Bet Championship games and have reached the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup since the turn of the year.

“We can build from this,” Williams states.

“It could be looked at as two points lost, especially with the chance at the end, but we can build from the clean sheet. It was a scrappy game and there wasn’t a lot of quality, set-plays were the biggest threat really, but it was frustrating as a whole.

“Rotherham are a tough team to play against – they have a lot of big players and they looked to play for the point with a centre-half in midfield.”

The Republic of Ireland international denies that The Lions struggled with the return to League action after the euphoria of the previous weekend’s dramatic Cup victory over Everton, and adds by particularly crediting the defensive players for their shift on Saturday.

“I wouldn’t say it was difficult to come back to normal as it were after the Everton game, because we have a dressing room that doesn’t get carried away. We always just look to put a performance in for the next game.

“I thought the goalkeeper and back four were commanding. We just need to work to create more chances from now on, but there are certainly positives to take. We did still have chances to score – but it’s swings and roundabouts – hence how we scored three set-piece goals last week.”

Williams has had his say on the second-half incident which saw Rotherham captain Richard Wood escape with a booking after what appeared to be a reckless challenge on Jordan Archer in The Lions’ six-yard area.

“For me, he should have been sent off – it looked like the ball was already in Jordan’s hands, and their player has gone in dangerously.

“He said himself that he wouldn’t have been happy either had it been the other way around.”

With Neil Harris operating with a three-man midfield in each game since visiting Middlesbrough just over a fortnight ago, Williams claims he is appreciating the adjusted role in the middle of the park.

The 32-year-old also praises the impact of the returning Ben Marshall and Ben Thompson at The Den.

“The three-man midfield usually gives us more options rather than just the direct approach, and it’s more compact in the middle. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

“[Ben Marshall] seems to be enjoying himself, and he’s continued where he left off for us. He adds quality to the squad at the moment and he seems as though he’s settled in straight away.

“Having Ben Thompson back has been a real plus, and Portsmouth seem to have struggled somewhat without him, so it shows the impact he brings to a team.”

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