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Harris talks QPR, changing shape and keeping perspective

Manager gives open assessment after first home defeat

21 September 2019

Neil Harris has given his view on Millwall's 2-1 defeat at The Den against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

The Lions suffered their first home defeat of the season courtesy of Nahki Wells' double, cancelling out Shaun Hutchinson's equalising goal.

Harris gives his take on a frustrating afternoon for his side.

"It was a very even London derby with a lot of hustle-bustle," the manager says.

"For 15 minutes before half-time they were better than us, but there were also spells in which we were better than them. We were in the position Nahki Wells was in for his first goal on five or six occasions and didn't score, he did just that - fair play.

"There was a lot of effort without real quality at times, but then we got ourselves back on level terms with the stadium erupting. You can't legislate for the mistake from Bart, but he's a good honest pro who has held his hands up and apologised. The second goal for them kills the game and makes it difficult for us to get in the ascendancy again - having said that, we still had a couple of chances, but weren't good enough to take them."

Harris altered his formation to combat Mark Warburton's side's shape, and analysed his thoughts on how it panned out.

"We changed our shape today to play against QPR and in a lot of ways it worked. Late in the first half, QPR moved the ball well and it coincided with our worst 15 minutes of the game. We gave the ball away too cheaply which some of the players have to look at themselves for, but the gameplan we instilled on the players in the second half worked for us in a number of ways.

"The chances came from that direct play off Matt Smith, and the frustration is that for the fourth or fifth time in a row, I stand here with us having not taken what we've deserved from a game - we probably deserved a point here.

"There are improvements to be made on a technical front and confidence-wise. We had earned seven points from three home games, so the group should be confident and the crowd should be buzzing to come and see their team. But the Championship is a hard enough League to be in without giving goals away in the way we have."

The boss gives an honest assessment of some of the criticism levelled at The Lions, who sit 16th in the Sky Bet Championship following the narrow loss.

"I have to be honest, a lot of people are talking about difficult spells - we haven't won for four games. Let's look at the four games: Middlesbrough, where everyone would have been happy with a point but we should have won the game; Hull at The Den, where we dominated and were undone by a freak goal; Oxford, we were cruising, could have won about 27-0 and we went on to lose on penalties, and Blackburn were better than us last week.

"Yes, we can and will play better, but there needs to stop being so much negativity - I don't buy into all that. We started really well and some people got carried away as if we would go on and win the League - it's not like that. Look at the quality of Nahki Wells' finish, like I said, we got into that area several times and didn't score - that's why Wells has played in the Premier League for half of his career.

"We need perspective. Do I want us never to get beaten again at home this season? Yes, too right - I want us to win every home game we play and certainly not get beaten, so my frustration is that we've lost our [unbeaten] home record so early in the season when it was avoidable. Little spells of not winning games will happen during the campaign, we might win next week and the week after or not win for another three or four. That's the way it goes for Millwall at this level."

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