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Rowett: "The players were disciplined and gave everything"

Read the manager's assessment on three points at the Liberty Stadium

23 November 2019

Gary Rowett has praised the desire and positivity of his Millwall side after we claimed our first away win of the Sky Bet Championship season at Swansea City on Saturday.

Jed Wallace's superb free-kick in the second half sealed the three points, and the manager is full of credit for the players.

"It was a real energetic performance and I'm really proud of the players," Rowett says.

"We played a defensive five. Jayson Molumby had a knock which we couldn't risk and Fergie picked up an injury yesterday too, which limited our options. We did work on a five-at-the-back system over the international break, and we saw opportunities where it could really help us away from home. We did press too high at times which enabled a good side like Swansea to play through, but I don't think they caused us too many problems and we had the better of the chances.

"I spoke to the board before coming into the club, and I always said that away from home we needed to do something different from a psychological perspective. There were never many games where they've been out of it, so they hadn't been far off, but we knew we could just fine-tune things and improve."

The boss continued to laud the way the team dealt with the change of shape, praising the team's discipline.

"Swansea have good rotations and good movements, so we did think packing the middle of the pitch could have worked, but in our shape here we did really limit them I thought.

"When we had to defend, the back five and midfield two were very disciplined. Connor Mahoney and Jed Wallace were excellent getting us up the pitch - it was a bit of a gamble, but it paid off for us as we then had three pressing from the front rather than two, and there are great transition opportunities to get up the pitch."

Rowett is especially pleased with the desire and commitment of his side in South Wales, and acknowledges the terrific shift of match-winner Wallace, claiming his seventh goal of the season.

"What I liked the most is that no matter what the shape, the players left nothing out there - we had to give everything and use no excuses.

"Our fans were brilliant, and after a long journey they certainly deserved to see an energetic performance, full of desire to go and change our away form.

"Jed works excellently for the team and has superstar quality. I want players who are willing to run themselves into the ground for the cause."

The manager finally challenges the squad to replicate the performance levels in Tuesday night's return to The Den against Wigan Athletic, and gives a fitness update.

"Yes, we want that extra bit of quality at times, as well as belief, because we can do it. There's no point coming to Swansea and putting in a display like that to not follow it up with an equal performance on Tuesday.

"That is the challenge. It won't be a huge away following from them, so we need to create our own atmosphere to our advantage. It will be important that we put a vibrant performance in on the pitch, which can be difficult after such an energetic game here at Swansea, but we may have to make a couple of changes and the players will have to prepare well.

"Jayson might have a chance to be back for Tuesday. We put Billy Mitchell on the bench - he has been excellent recently for the Under 23s, and if Thommo wasn't able to make it I wouldn't have hesitated to start him. Thommo came down on the train on his own this morning, which shows his desire to be involved for Millwall. Fergie, we're not entirely sure on at the moment - it could be his cartilage, but we won't be certain until we check it."

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