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Rowett describes "massive" three points

The boss reacts to Millwall v Stoke City...

23 October 2021

Gary Rowett spoke to following The Lions' 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory over Stoke City at The Den on Saturday afternoon.

Romaine Sawyers gave The Potters a lead in SE16, but two goals from Tom Bradshaw - following a change of shape from the manager - earned Millwall a second consecutive win.

The recent record now also stands at four wins in five and one defeat in 10, putting the club level with six other clubs on 21 points in the race for a top six place.

"It's a massive three points," said Rowett. "We've spoken all week about trying to play on the front foot and with the agressive intensity that our fans want to see and we all want to see. For some reason, we didn't do that to start with.

"You've got to respect the fact that Stoke are a really good side - they've got Sawyers, Vrancic, Joe Allen, who I know all about. They controlled those midfield areas early on and made it difficult for us to put any pressure on. For 20 minutes, we really struggled. We kept trying to play forward when there wasn't any space available, the ball kept going out of play and we didn't play with any calmness or quality.

"As you'd expect, the stadium felt edgy. I thought we were better in the final 15-20 minutes of the first-half - we had two or three breakaways in which we should've done better. We gave away a poor goal where we stand off and allow two or three players to take a touch and then have a shot. They're the little moments where you have to do better defensively.

"We then looked brighter going in at half-time, despite the frustration. We want to find a solution to our home form and some of the performances. I know we haven't played well enough at home, consistently, in periods. It's something we've really tried to work hard on this week."

The substitution of Matt Smith for George Evans shortly into the second-half facilitated a change of shape for The Lions.

"Evo got a bang to his calf at half-time - we thought it was worth changing it. I thought about going 4-2-3-1; Smudge is unlucky not to start the game. But, on the back of a difficult Sheffield United performance, it was difficult to change too much. We needed to give them a chance to go again. But, with the extra body in those forward areas, we looked a lot more threatening.

"We scored two very good goals - Bradders deserves that. When he has played, whatever you want him to do as a manager, he'll do to his utmost ability. His effort in every game is incredible and he'll do whatever he can to score goals. He hasn't had a lot of luck in front of goal, but he is a really good team player. He epitomises what we do on the pitch when we do things right. Honesty, effort, endeavour, plus what he got into today were good positions to score the two goals."

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