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Harris: "We felt we could have had three points"

Manager gives his take on draw at Luton

2 October 2019

Neil Harris has explained both his delight and disappointment at certain aspects of Millwall's 1-1 draw with Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

Tom Bradshaw's goal on the hour mark gave The Lions the lead in Bedfordshire, before Callum McManaman earned Luton a point with less than five minutes on the clock.

Harris describes the overall mood as "generally positive", but acknowledges frustrating elements of the team's showing as well as encouraging factors.

"We're generally positive to be honest, though disappointed to concede with five minutes to go," the manager says.

"We felt we could have had three points. For the first 25 minutes, Luton were better than us, moved the ball well and we couldn't get near them in midfield. Then we grew into the game - if we had a little bit more quality in the first half in the final third then we'd have made more chances.

"We made the change at half-time, a positive change in shape. The idea was to press the ball higher and win the ball, and then be creative. It allowed us to take the shackles off and play on the front foot - it certainly put Luton out of their rhythm. The second half was as outstanding as the first half at Huddersfield - we just have to be more consistent over the course of the 90 minutes."

Harris credits Bartosz Bialkowski following a string of excellent saves, and lauds the creation of chances from his side at the other end.

"Bart is an outstanding goalkeeper at this level, a great shot-stopper. We all know that if players were the finished article, they'd be playing in the Premier League. Bart was excellent tonight, and he's growing as a goalkeeper all the time.

"We also created some good chances. The game's over if the header goes in from Matt Smith to make it 2-0, and Smithy tells us that their boy gets a touch on it just as he's about to head it, so that's fair enough. But then Bradders has the chance in the 93rd minute to win us the game, too.

"There were some really strong individual performances, and we can go on to look to enjoy Saturday now against Leeds."

The boss talks of the talents of former Belgium assistant Graeme Jones' Hatters outfit, and speaks in depth about where his side are heading into a pulsating Sky Bet Championship meeting with Leeds United at The Den this Saturday afternoon.

"Luton are going to be a good side - they have some really good patterns of play and they possess a coach who has been involved in the Semi-Finals of a World Cup. We made a tactical change at half-time which paid off, and for 40 minutes in the second half we were the better team against a good Luton outfit.

"They changed, we changed to become more comfortable, and then Graeme made a change just before they equalised. We were unable to react - we're disappointed that their player gets a free shot from eight yards, but it goes through Coops' legs in the six-yard box which gives them a little bit of luck.

"To perform like we did in the second half was a huge positive going forward. The frustration from the away end in the first half came from not getting after the ball. It is my tactics, I set the team up not to get beaten and then try and get a foothold so we are able to counter. It worked to a certain degree, but we didn't keep the ball well enough, so we changed and got after the ball after half-time. The boys have been fantastic - they're an excellent group of lads, every day in training and every game. Every game for us will be a battle, we have to fight for every point. This is a great level for us to be at, and again we will set up at the weekend to be hard to beat and to try and use the ball well."


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