Alex Pearce has described Millwall’s display in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Swansea City as “magnificent”, and claims it is a big obstacle cleared to secure a first away win of the Sky Bet Championship season.
Jed Wallace’s second-half winner from an excellent free-kick brought the three points back to SE16 from South Wales, and Pearce gives his analysis of a good battle.
“I thought we were magnificent really,” the captain says.
“We were getting used to the new shape and maybe we started a bit jittery, but after the first 15 minutes we really settled down – for the majority of the first half, I thought we controlled things. We contained them really well, limited them to very few chances and looked dangerous on the counter.
“It’s important in getting us off the mark away from home. The manager was pleased at half-time and we built on an encouraging first half after the break, we adapted to the new shape and that worked really well. We looked at half-time at where they could potentially hurt us, but on the whole, it was more about how we could hurt them.”
Pearce credits manager Gary Rowett after he opted for a back five system at the Liberty Stadium, a tactical call which the skipper feels the team reacted to very well.
“Huge credit has to go to the gaffer for setting us up that way. The players took it on board really well I thought – I wouldn’t say it was comfortable, because it’s never comfortable in a Championship game – but we were solid, Bart didn’t have a great deal of saves to make, and the only other chances they really had were in transition rather than breaking us down.
“It was a really pleasing day defensively overall – clean sheets are never just down to the back line and the goalkeeper – and the subs made an impact when they came on. Skally, Bradders and Smudge all contributed really well, and we looked to do Swansea some damage going forward.”
The defender returned to the starting XI at the weekend for the first time since September’s draw at Huddersfield Town, and from an individual perspective is very pleased with his contribution.
“From a personal point of view, I’m really pleased first and foremost with the win and clean sheet.
“As a defender, you want clean sheets of course, and if I can help the team in any way then I’m more than happy to do that.
“I’m really pleased to be back in the side, showing everyone what I can do, and to be part of a great team performance like that was really positive.”
Pearce now calls on the troops to maintain momentum and build on the encouraging recent performances, with The Lions sat 10th in the Championship heading into Tuesday night’s quick return to action against Wigan Athletic at The Den.
“It’s important to keep momentum in the Championship – that’s really key. That’s two wins on the bounce now, and then we’ve got three games coming up really quickly to look to keep picking up points.
“We now go into the game on Tuesday looking for a positive result, Wigan are a very good side who will bring their own challenges, and we’ll have to face up to them.
“It will be a tough contest, but at home, we know we can give anyone a game. It’ll be a tasty one and certainly one we’ll be looking to win.”