Skipper praises ‘never-say-die’ Millwall – but pinpoints where Lions need to improve

ALEX Pearce thinks Millwall need to have more of a clinical edge – despite the side having scored two goals in four of Gary Rowett’s seven matches in charge.

The Lions dominated the first half against Nottingham Forest on Friday night but only went in a goal up at the break through Shaun Williams’ header.

Forest were much-improved in the second half and Lewis Grabban’s double looked like it would be enough to take the three points before Aiden O’Brien equalised in injury-time.

“The first half we were outstanding, we moved the ball really well which is what we’ve been trying to implement in training and into our games of late,” Pearce said. “I thought we did that very well.

“We were a threat from set-plays, scored a great goal through Willo. Going into the break we should have been out of sight. When it’s only 1-0 you’re always in danger.

“They’re a top side, they’re fourth in the league for a reason and are going to have a spell. Second half they did that. They performed better than us second half.

“I was disappointed with the goals we conceded. What I will say is we showed fantastic character to come back, a never-say-die attitude.

“I’m really pleased for Aiden O’Brien because he’s been training really well of late. He deserves that.

“They brought on quality in [Joe] Lolley and Grabban. They were a real threat, we had to be on our toes. I thought Muzza [Murray Wallace] dealt with Lolley well on the whole.

“We’ve got to look at our second-half performance and analyse it. We could have had more control, we didn’t keep the ball well enough. When we did have bits of play, probed, switched it, we managed to get in but didn’t quite do that enough second half.”

Millwall have lost just once in seven games under Rowett.

Pearce added: “It’s a solid start, we’re proving a hard team to beat. I’m not sure how to feel, whether it’s two points dropped or a point gained. Going into the 90th minute at 2-1 down I think we’ve got to look at it as a positive that we came back.

“We’re desperate to get points on the board, we’ve shown that and how good a group we are. We showed character to come back on our home patch.

“We’ve got a very tight-knit group and it showed with the subs that came on and helped us. It’s a squad game and I’ve been there myself, you have to train well. It’s a small squad and everyone will be needed.

“Players who are not in the team at the moment shouldn’t be too disheartened because very soon they could be on the field affecting the game and affecting our season.

“It would be good if we could add to our squad in January to give us a little bit more depth. There are some great foundations so if we could add a little bit more it could help us out moving forward. That would be more than welcome.

“We’re a hard team to beat but can we add that extra bit of quality in the final third? Possibly. We could have had better end product, better crosses for our front men.

“That’s how we take ourselves to the next stage of our development. We’ve got the first bit, we’re solid and hard to beat, now can we look to hurt teams?

“We’ve got some great players and good attacking threats and we’ve shown this season that we can really play on the break and hurt teams on the counter.

“We also showed [Friday night] that we can build up play. It’s just about bringing that out on a more consistent basis.”

Millwall face Bristol City and Derby this week, two of Pearce’s former clubs.

“It’s not about that. It’s about the performances, really, and we’ll be going there to get points. They will be two tough games but we’ve got the players to get through it.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly