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Rowett discusses "fantastic", dramatic victory

Manager reflects on late, great win over Charlton Athletic

9 November 2019

Gary Rowett has given his take on Millwall's dramatic 2-1 win over Charlton Athletic in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon, claiming it was crucial to take a positive result for the Lions supporters.

Matt Smith's 91st minute header from the bench secured all three points for the blue side of South-East London at The Den, following Jonathan Leko's leveller from Shaun Hutchinson's early opener.

The manager acknowledges a difficult contest against Lee Bowyer's Addicks, but explains some of the main factors that drove the success on the day.

"That was a fantastic win for us and our fans," Rowett told millwallfc.co.uk.

"It was a difficult game and difficult conditions against local rivals in Charlton, but we came through and the atmosphere was tremendous from both sets of fans. The game was pretty even, we started much the better of the two sides and had some good opportunities. We caused them problems, we combined well down the right with Jed and Mahlon, and Hutch won the header brilliantly for the first goal.

"We probably had a 10-minute spell where we just lost a little bit of composure which has often been a factor - I'm not too concerned about it, but some of the football we play when we stay composed is excellent. Charlton caused us problems at times, and we did have to hang in there up until half-time, but although they equalised in the second half we probably reacted the better of the two sides."

The boss assesses the impact of goal hero Matt Smith from amongst the substitutes, as well as fellow cameo makers Connor Mahoney and Aiden O'Brien.

"You want to start well. Our last two home games have seen electric starts, we've moved the ball really well, despite the formation change here. We played the ball off the front men brilliantly.

"We brought Connor on late to see if Thommo could land on a few more second balls in that number 10 position. We brought Smudger [Smith] on to cause a threat in the penalty area, and Aiden as a local lad I thought could give us something different off the bench. We gave them that late opportunity, and Smudger won us the game. We've had great impact from the bench of late.

"With Smudger, you might not get that natural athleticism and intensity, but what you will do is always cause the opponent a problem. We tell the lads not to use him as an easy way out to release the ball, but play with control and get balls in the box towards him. There was a hint from Charlton that it could have been a foul, but the defender stands still, doesn't attempt to jump, and Smudger's momentum takes him over the top of the defender. It was a great way to finish the game for us and our fans."

Rowett discusses the importance of control and composure in his team, blending that quality with the intensity required to win matches.

"Yes, you want to win games and do it comprehensively, but it makes it a bit nicer to win it how we did in stoppage time. It wasn't as though we were dominating Charlton, it was quite an even game, and we just started to seize that last 10 minutes with a bit more territory. I'm really pleased that we were able to turn that into a goal.

"We've not tried to change too much off the pitch, just a few bits on the pitch. What Neil built here is fantastic, and I'm just looking for a bit more control and composure in games. We want to be flexible in the way we play, and play with a few more passes, but for me when we're under pressure in games, sometimes you just need that extra composure.

"The players' attitude and application have been fantastic. We want to be 100mph all the time, but we have to show the control at the right times and good decision-making. So far, the first half against Reading has been the only time where I've been disappointed, and everywhere else we've done really well. Long may that continue."


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