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Harris: “One moment switching off, and the ball ends up in the back of your net”

Manager speaks after late show from Blackburn condemns Lions to Den defeat

12 January 2019

Neil Harris has expressed his frustration after Millwall conceded two late goals to go down 2-0 at The Den against Blackburn Rovers in the Sky Bet Championship.

The quickfire double from Joe Nuttall and substitute Adam Armstrong took the points back to Lancashire for Tony Mowbray’s side, in a cagey encounter.

“There was nothing in it – it was a 0-0 game,” Harris says.

“No one really threatened the goal regularly, although we had a couple of set-plays where we put a little bit of pressure on in the second half. We got into some good areas but lacked a little bit of quality of times, and then we just switched off for the [first] goal.

“We talk about how close the games are at this level, and then in the 86th minute, the ball comes across the six-yard line and there’s a ricochet, and the ball ends up in the back of the net. This is the level we’re competing at, and I’m frustrated because we haven’t kept a clean sheet and got a point out of it, but that’s the reality of where we are. The second goal denied us the opportunity to try and carve out that one chance to equalise late on.”

The boss praises the competitive edge of the visitors, and claims The Lions were competing with one of the division’s biggest clubs.

“I thought Blackburn were good. They looked very competitive, which was exactly what we expected.

“When they’re bringing on players with the quality of Danny Graham and Adam Armstrong, with £7million-player Ben Brereton left on the bench, there’s a realisation that Blackburn are a big club at this level.”

Harris explains that his side missed several key factors in the match, and states that the campaign will ‘up and down’.

“I don’t think we affected the goal enough today, we certainly missed Lee Gregory’s physical presence up front before he came on, and losing Tom [Elliott] in the first minute was a big blow. He’s first contact for us, and very important.

“It’s disappointing because we lost the game – I hate losing here at The Den – but we can look at it and say we played a mid-table side and competed well. The shot count won’t be particularly high either way, but the bottom line was it was a 0-0 game and we didn’t see the job through. When you switch off for one moment at this level, the ball ends up in the back of your net.

“We won four games in a row and didn’t become the best team in the land, just like this defeat won’t make us the worst team in the land. This is going to be our season – it’s going to be up and down. Fans supporting us for 90 minutes is important.”

The manager finally gives an update on Tom Elliott’s injury early on at The Den.

“Tom has dislocated his shoulder, so it’s going to be a period of time – time-wise, I don’t know.”

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