Millwall boss on tactical reason for starting Kenneth Zohore – and why he was subbed at half-time

GARY Rowett explained he started Kenneth Zohore for a specific tactical reason against Stoke even though the striker isn’t fully fit.

Zohore was back in the starting line-up for the first time since February but was substituted at the break.

Rowett had fielded an attacking team with Jed Wallace playing off Zohore and Mason Bennett, but the Lions boss sent on Maikel Kieftenbeld at half-time.

That switch worked and Millwall won through Bennett’s goal 19 minutes from time.

“It wasn’t a big decision, but I started Ken, he’s not fit, he hasn’t trained enough and he’s been out a while,” Rowett said.

“I just thought his physical presence would give us something to play off and get around [Jon Obi] Mikel.

“But I just felt Mikel’s experience caused us a problem, with the likes of [Nick] Powell and their other midfielders dropping in and picking up balls in the pockets.

“So I decided to almost go and match them up there and actually it gave us more energy and we started passing the ball really well, we started getting into good areas. We probably did to them in the second half what they did to us in the first half.

“I was really pleased about that because we’re not the sort of team who find it easy to play around teams.

“But I thought we looked like we had more brightness and energy than Stoke in the second half and that got us into some good areas, so I think it did make a difference at half-time.

“The question then was with two strikers could we then go and score the goal. We tried, it wasn’t easy to come by chances but in the end we have to be alive from a mistake and make the most of it, show the composure to finish it off, which we did.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly