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Harris talks after Southend visit

Read from the manager after our narrow defeat at Roots Hall...

24 July 2019

Neil Harris has analysed Wednesday evening's 2-1 pre-season defeat to Southend United, and says downfalls will be worked on ahead of the new Sky Bet Championship season.

Two late Theo Robinson goals won the contest for the hosts at Roots Hall after a bizarre own goal opened the scoring in The Lions' favour early in the second half.
"I said after Sunday’s game that results in pre-season are irrelevant. They are relevant when you concede goals, and we shouldn’t have let in the goals we did," Harris says.
"I wasn’t unhappy with the first half, but it had that pre-season, testimonial mode to it. I’ve been to watch a few games in the last seven days, and they’ve all had that nature in the first half.
"I said to the boys that’s not really how we want to play, we want to move the ball forward quicker and with purpose - but then make good decisions with the ball. For 15 minutes in the second half we did, and we looked like a proper team. When we have a settled team during the season, that’s how I want us to look. I might have pushed the boys too hard in the last seven days, and at Gillingham at Southend we’ve looked a bit sluggish, but that’s something we expect to iron out after Saturday."
The manager praised the progression of starting front two Tom Bradshaw and new arrival Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, with the duo seeking to regain match sharpness after last season's injury lay-offs.
"I thought both Jon and Tom both looked a bit short of match fitness as they of course haven't had a lot of recent game time. Jon as we know hasn’t played a lot of football, so it was good to get him to an hour. For Tom to get 80 minutes under his belt was a very good return from him.
"They have potential to be a really good pairing with the way they play, albeit without seeing them much as a pairing in training or in games, but we have to utilise their strengths. The two of them will take time, but what’s most important is that they both got through the game injury-free."
The boss finally touches on which players will feature in Saturday's return to The Den against La Liga outfit Real Sociedad, and gives an update on potential new recruits to his squad.
"The first team boys will play on Saturday, though not the exact team for the start of the season," Harris explains.
"The young boys have done their bit with the first team and they’ll now go back and concentrate on the U23s, and I’m really pleased with their input over the course of pre-season. Now we’re really preparing for the start of the League campaign with the first team group.
"We’re really pleased to get Jayson [Molumby] in, although he is some way off match fitness at the moment. Another incoming is progressing, and whilst I hope we can get it completed by Saturday, we’ll see how things go."
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