Millwall man’s tribute to Lions fans and disagreement with Forest boss: ‘We rattled them’

RYAN Tunnicliffe said his winner for Millwall against Nottingham Forest on Saturday was the best goal he’s scored in his career.

Tunnicliffe – who turned 26 yesterday – scored with an overhead kick in the 10th minute before Millwall went on to win 1-0 for the second time in four days.

Neil Harris joked the midfielder has never scored a goal like that in training.

“To be fair I don’t think many people do, there’s not many bicycle kicks scored,” Tunicliffe said. “The ball bounced and I knew where the goal sort of was. That was the only technique to get the shot off towards goal and thankfully it missed everyone and went in.

“It’s top, I don’t think I’ll ever score a better goal. It was a massive goal and it’s back-to-back wins now at home. We dug deep and defended like men, showed our heart and held on until the end.

“If you look at us last year, we were very compact and made teams play around us forcing them to shoot from distance. You would think that’s the best way to go about it. They didn’t have many clear-cut chances so it was good shape from us.

“Your home form is vital, especially as we haven’t been going so great away from home, yet. The more points we can get here the more it’ll make our life easier.

“We had been in that position [against Reading on Boxing Day] quite a few times this year where we had been winning by the odd goal then in the last few seconds people score against us. It was tough.

“So there was relief when the final whistle went and we’d won that game. It was a weight lifted off our shoulders and we came into this game full of confidence.”

Ryan Tunnicliffe spectacularly scores Millwall’s winner

Tunnicliffe disagreed with Aitor Karanka that speculation over his future as manager of Forest affected them in the build-up and partly explained their loss.

Tunnicliffe said. “It’s probably giving us a disservice because we saw that they wanted to play out from the back and nobody can come here and have an easy ride at The Den, we’re going to have a high press and I think we rattled them in the first five or 10 minutes.

“We were closing the keeper down and Lenny [Ryan Leonard] got booked from that. That really set the tempo for us and the early goal sent us on our way. I think we did quite well to keep that intensity up and keep them out.”

Tunnicliffe paid tribute to the home fans in the crowd of 15,273.

“In the last 10 minutes they were all up for it and wiling us on to get the win,” Tunnicliffe added. “When you’re getting tired with 80 minutes gone and we’d put that much into it, I think the crowd can help us a lot.

“I hear it and it makes me want to run about that extra yard and do something so everyone can get on their feet, whether that’s running about, pressing, blocking shots – it really does give you a lift.”

Millwall face bottom side Ipswich Town on New Year’s Day.

“Regardless of the points or where they are in the league I think any game you play in this division is tough,” Tunnicliffe said. “They got a new manager and have picked up a few points recently, so we won’t be going there expecting to win.

“We’ll be going there with the same mentality we go into every game with, that’s to start fast and play with a lot of energy and see where it takes us.

“[A win] would be putting us in the direction we want to be going which is up the table. Nine points in three games doesn’t come around often in this division so hopefully we can do it.

“We’ll be going there full of confidence after two wins and hopefully we can get that first away win.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly