Gary Rowett says he already knows his Millwall squad have the determination required to be successful in The Championship this season.
Rowett took his first day of training at Calmont Road on Thursday, has outlined his aims for the club in the near future and lauds the application of his new group of players.
“I think we have such a strong group here in terms of attitude and application, everybody has echoed that,” the manager says.
“That has been the first thing that stands out like a beacon – you’re not going to have to get these players to work hard and have the desire to want to do well, because we can see already the determination that is there.
“Training, on first impression, was probably as good as any I’ve been at in terms of application and quality at times. We’re looking to make a stamp on things with the squad we have, and hopefully we’ll be in a very good position moving forward.”
The boss’ opening League game comes at The Den this Saturday against no less than his former employers Stoke City – an opponent from whom he recognises the quality on the pitch despite their current lowly position in the table.
“Stoke are a very good team, everyone knows that. Everyone in the football world would be surprised about where they are in the League,” claims Rowett.
“What they have shown in the two games previously to their match with Sheffield Wednesday is that they have got quality, and I’m pretty sure they will get out of trouble at some point. They’re there, they’re fighting to get out of it, my focus is just for us to win our game.
“We respect the fact they have a quality group, and it won’t be too long before they start winning some games, I’m sure.
Rowett notes that his eight months at the bet365 Stadium – finishing in January of this year – can serve as a learning curve to him in his management career, provoking a healthy mentality which he can transmit to his players and fellow staff.
“I wouldn’t say I’m someone who overthinks on previous situations. Everyone makes decisions which you respect, I was very fortunate to be manager of Stoke and I respect the owners for the opportunity, but then it’s about trying to move on, learn and progress.
“It might not have worked out in the way we would have liked, but it was perhaps my most valuable management experience so far as it helped give me this positive outlook. I feel it benefits me, and I want to ensure that our team and club now can be helped by some of those lessons.
“We have that strong learning mentality with the team. If we lose a game, we analyse why we lost it and we’ll be positive.”
The manager finally states the ingredients to be a success at this level are certainly evident at the club, and that he is very much looking forward to working together with his squad and everyone at The Den to be ambitious to achieve as much as possible.
“The foundations are certainly here both as a team and a club to be able to climb up the table, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could make progress in this division.
“To me, the simple aim is to move up the League. We’ve seen it done with other clubs in this division, who perhaps don’t have the resources some of their opponents do but have the character and qualities that others might not have.
“We spoke to the players about looking upwards. It’s like the last few miles of the London Marathon – it’s great if you can overtake a few, and it’s a good bit of momentum. We’re also aware it’s going to take a lot of work, it’s a tough division – you can easily lose a few games and find yourselves dropping down. We’re not naïve, we want to work hard and try to be ambitious.”