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Harris: "The players deserve all the credit"

Lions boss discusses Ferguson double, dedication of his squad and Fourth Round draw

6 January 2019

Neil Harris has described Shane Ferguson's late double to seal passage to the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round as two "moments of real quality".

The manager also praised the consistency and effort of the team, who have now won four successive matches in 11 days since Christmas.

"I'm so pleased for Shane - his two goals indicate the form he is in," the boss says.

"Credit to all three subs. Willo [Shaun Williams] came in and gave us more control of the football, Moro [Steve Morison] gave us his usual guile and leadership, and Shane gave us the two moments of real quality which won us the game.

"I thought in general we were the better team, but Cup football isn't about who has had more chances or possession, it's about getting through. It was a poor goal to concede, but we showed those moments of quality.

"When you change shape, it can add a bit of confusion to the opposition. The players know what they're doing, they're used to it and have practiced it. Confidence is the key - to have four wins in a row just after Christmas is outstanding. The players deserve all the credit. Their reward for the extra training sessions, not sitting with a beer or having the food everyone else is having, and watching the training videos, is to be winning these games."

Harris made two changes to his starting line-up ahead of the tie, with James Meredith and Ferguson initially rested before the latter's introduction - along with Williams and Morison, who all entered the fray together after 63 minutes in a bold statement of intent from the manager.

"We don't have the biggest of squads. I maybe would have liked to make a couple more changes, but I wasn't able to, so I was really pleased with the effort of the lads. Mezza [Meredith] wasn't ready to play on New Year's Day, and I made a mistake in starting him then. Today was an ideal opportunity for a breather, and I felt Murray Wallace needed more minutes after growing into the game at Ipswich.

"Shane's played a lot too. For a player who - for much of his career - has been in and out of the team and been an impact sub, to play three games in six days was a big ask for him. You need impact, and the opportunity to bring on Shane, Willo and Moro was a real opportunity for us."

The boss concludes by previewing next weekend's return to Sky Bet Championship action as Blackburn Rovers visit The Den, along with making it very clear which opposition he hopes to be paired with in Monday's Fourth Round draw following Sunday's victory.

"We look forward to Monday night's draw - and we'll hope we draw West Ham, home or away.

"Then, the big one for us is on Saturday against Blackburn, undoubtedly our biggest game of the season. They're a good team, a tough opponent with some very good players. But we're in real good form, The Den is a difficult place to come again, and we will look to build into the weekend full of confidence."

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