Millwall boss assesses draw against ‘Premier League-quality’ Watford – and midfielder debut

MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett feels his side are showing more of their true level recently after their 0-0 draw against Watford on Tuesday night. 

The Lions followed up their 1-0 win at Huddersfield with another clean sheet against a Watford side chasing automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Jake Cooper hit the post for the Lions and also had a goal disallowed.

The Hornets are in the hunt for an immediate return to the Premier League and Rowett was pleased with how his side handled the challenge.

“You talk about a player Liverpool reportedly bid £40million for [Ismaila Sarr] and it wasn’t quite enough. [Tom] Cleverley, [Nathaniel] Chalobah – they’ve got Premier League-quality players,” Rowett said.

“They can also try and out-muscle and out-physical you. We had to stand up to that tonight.

“In the first half we got into some really good positions and used the ball well. Coops hits the inside of the post and it comes out rather than going in.

“There were a couple of saves at the other end for Bart [Bialkowski], but not too many, and we defended diligently.

“As the game goes on you know they’re going to start probing and pressing and we had to hang on because we weren’t holding the ball as well.

“I would say after the Forest game to beat Huddersfield and keep a clean sheet and then keep a clean sheet at home is more back to where we need to be.”

Maikel Kieftenbeld made his debut for Millwall after his move from Birmingham on Monday.

Rowett added: “Having brought him in and with the formation we played I thought it was an obvious one for him with his energy and the desire that he’s got.

“I thought you saw exactly what Maikel is, he’s a competitive player, his use of the ball is good, he knows tactically how to play different formations. He’s a really intelligent player and one that I trust.

“I thought he gave us something different. He was excellent and we need those options.

“He had one day’s training after not really knowing the group, but I thought he came in seamlessly.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly