Result all that matters for Millwall boss Harris after ‘cup final’ against Reading

NEIL Harris said the result was all that mattered after his side claimed “a huge three points” with a nervy 1-0 win over Reading at The Den on Boxing Day.

Jed Wallace shot Millwall in front with a brilliant free-kick in the eighth minute and a minute later Reading were reduced to 10 men when Tyler Blackett was sent off for a strong tackle on the goal scorer.

Reading hit the crossbar in the 72nd minute through John Swift’s free-kick before Leandro Bacuna was given a straight red card after a clash with Shane Ferguson with two minutes left.

It was Millwall’s first win in nine games and Harris admitted he felt an “edginess” during the contest before his side moved three points above Reading who replace them in the relegation zone.

“We have played really well and got no rewards,” Harris said. “We have played really well and got some really bad luck. So I am not going to bemoan my players. Today was not a great performance. I think we showed a lot of heart, energy and desire. We showed moments of quality.

“We should and could have gone and got another one or two. I think we saw the edginess in the stadium and in the players as well. I understand that. We have been in the lead so many times and thrown it away.

“I think today I would say well done to my players. It was a cup final today. Shaun Williams used the words before the game. Playing against a team directly above us, on the same points. You don’t want to lose out – it’s a huge three points.”

Harris felt referee Andy Davies got the red card decisions right.

He said: “At the time I thought the first one he had lunged. I thought it could go either way – it had to be a card. Having watched it back, it was really reckless and dangerous. He loses control of the ball and makes an honest attempt for the ball, but it’s dangerous in the modern game.

“The second one is right in front of me – Fergie gets trod on. Again, can the boy avoid him? I don’t know.”

It was Reading boss Jose Gomes’ first match in charge, and he was pleased with how his side responded being a player down for so long.

“It was a very difficult match, even 11 versus 11 for sure it would be a difficult match,” Gomes said. “Playing 85 minutes with 10 or part with nine, it was a very difficult mission for my players.

“But they fought until the last second and until the last second the game was open.

“So I’m proud of their attitude, what they showed on the pitch. During a long period of time we controlled the game with the ball. My assistant just let me know that we got 58 per cent of the possession playing with one player less.

“We didn’t like the result, we didn’t like the red cards and I’m not complaining against the referee, maybe I should complain with my players.

“We are proud of our attitude and blood that my players showed that they have inside them. They were brave.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly