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Rowett's first post-match analysis as Lions overcome Stoke challenge

The boss lauds energy levels, midfield display and talks training routine

26 October 2019

Gary Rowett has given a highly positive assessment of his Millwall side, as his first game as Lions manager ended in a 2-0 victory over his former club Stoke City.

Ben Thompson's volley put The Lions ahead as a new chapter began at The Den, with Jed Wallace's penalty following a remarkable run from the wide man doubling the lead and sealing three points.

"It's fantastic for us - the performance in the first half was as good as I've ever seen from a side I've managed," Rowett beams.

"It's always difficult when you've not had a lot of time to work with the team, it's been a busy week, but we had to make sure not to inhibit the players too much, so we had to give the amount of advice we thought necessary. We were on the front foot, very energetic, they showed me the unbelievable character that I already know they have.

"We played some great football as well as showing fantastic desire, we switched play well and got Mahlon causing problems down the right-hand side. Stoke are a good side who have heavily invested in their team, and they changed their formation three times just to deal with us, so that is very encouraging. We thoroughly deserved the goals and the points."

The manager recognises the hectic environment around the club in recent days surrounding the start of a new era in SE16, and he claims the energy shown by the team was hugely impressive.

Rowett also lauds the contribution of his midfield players against a talented array of opponents in Nathan Jones' side.

"It's been a big, demanding week and some of the energy levels were fantastic. The first half showed so much of that, that the main discussion with the staff at half-time was that we knew there would come a point where it was hard to maintain that level. Stoke had nothing to lose at stages in the second half and we maybe lost a little bit of composure, and they were freer in their movement.

"We did struggle to get out at times, but we defended well, kept a really good shape and I think their first shot on target came after 80-85 minutes. The crowd helped us when we needed it and showed their backing which is crucial to helping carry us through.

"The crowd gave us the momentum we needed, the players finished far stronger and we deserved the second goal. We looked to be strong in midfield, as Stoke's strongest area is in the middle of the park. Thommo can add energy, he's shown today he can add goals, he's so enthusiastic and exuberant - he can lift the place on his own at times. Jed is so direct, shows individual brilliance, gets us up the pitch so well and showed that with the second goal, and Willo's composure in the centre complemented Jayson Molumby's work ethic, legs and energy."

The boss finally explains some of his early training regime with the squad, and is very glad the obstacle of a busy opening week in charge will now calm before The Lions visit Reading next week in the Sky Bet Championship.

"I was pleased with the way we saw the game out - like I say, it has been a very busy week and it's important to secure that appropriate rest and recovery. Some of the players need a breather, we tend to work by coming into training later on a Monday and the lads who haven't played as much will get a good chance to work and get to know us a bit better.

"We're also keen to get some fresh ideas into them. It's always key when you come into a club that you don't overload players too much, but you want them to have the structure and they showed that excellently today at times.

"It'll be a good week for us, we've got the hectic week out the way and secured the win here, and they'll get a little bit of a breather now. It was nice to finish off with a good result."

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