What Reading did before the game to give Millwall big motivation as they come from behind to win

GARY Rowett said he had to hold the Millwall team meeting in the concourse at the Madejksi Stadium on Saturday – and his players used it as motivation as his team came from a goal down to beat Reading.

Alfa Semedo put the hosts ahead, but substitutes Matt Smith and Mason Bennett struck in the 76th and 85th minutes to give the Lions just a second win at Reading since 2001.

Rowett brought on Jed Wallace and Mason Bennett for Shaun Williams and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson at half-time.

“We certainly weren’t hoping to hold our team meeting in a concourse that was about minus-eight,” Rowett said. “We just felt it was a tad disrespectful when you’ve got a stadium that I’m sure has plenty more room.

“It was the players that felt a little bit aggrieved, it was the players that used it to their advantage. I didn’t feel [the facilities] were anywhere near the level [expected].

“We had to do [the half-time team-talk] in a room where we shouldn’t have to squeeze that amount of people in there.

“I’m more focused on the win, on what we had to do. It didn’t affect them psychologically, I thought they dealt with the game pretty well after going a goal down. You could see that in the celebrations.

“It gave us more motivation, it was something we spoke about and we used it to our advantage.

“Reading are a fantastic team, they have as good a front four as any in the division. They’ve certainly got the quality in the likes of Joao to open the game up at will. You’ve got to be on your guard defensively.

“Part of our game-plan was to utilise the fact that Reading had played on Wednesday night against Brentford and they’d expended a lot of energy and were unfortunate to lose the game late on.

“We just felt as though there was an opportunity to start well, we did in the first 15 or 20 minutes when we hit the bar, pinned Reading back but just couldn’t find the extra moments of quality.

“Then we concede a goal against the run of play that is disappointing, to be 1-0 down in such a stupid fashion.

“We huffed and puffed to half-time, didn’t play with any quality, looked as though mentally the goal had set us back and we couldn’t quite get our game going.

“Then at half-time I had to bring the two wide players on and change from 5-3-2 to 4-2-3-1 – and it did the trick.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly