Millwall boss on what impressed him most at Brentford, respecting league’s ‘integrity’ – but learning for next season

GARY Rowett praised his players for their motivation and desire after they drew 0-0 at promotion-chasing Brentford on Saturday despite having little to play for.

The Lions had the better chances – Scott Malone twice going close before Jon Dadi Bodvarsson couldn’t reach Danny McNamara’s ball across the six-yard box late on – while the Bees only had one shot on goal through Ivan Toney.

Millwall’s realistic aim over the final four games is to match last season’s eighth-place finish. They are a point behind Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff who are seventh.

“I’m pleased with the players because again it’s a game we’ve got little to play for,” Rowett said. “We could come here and be demotivated or could come here and question the desire of the players.

“But once again we’re competitive. We’ve drawn with Norwich twice, we’ve drawn with Brentford twice, we’ve drawn with Watford, Bournemouth. We’ve been very good in these types of games.

“The next little bit for us is something we’re hoping to achieve next season. That’s the challenge.

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“If I can stand here at the end of the season and say we finished eighth, ninth, 10th, or 11th, in truth, if it’s not the top six it’s not here nor there, in my mind. It’s about learning what we need to learn.

“Of course it’s about finishing as high as we can with as many points as we can, but for me it’s more important to go into the summer knowing exactly what’s required for next season.

“With that comes one or two moments in games when we have to try one or two different things. We did some of those things well today and other things we have to get better at.”

Rowett explained the change he made at Brentford, as Ryan Woods came into the side for Billy Mitchell.

Rowett said: “You could pick the same team for the last five games, four games, but what am I going to learn? So today Billy Mitchell came out. It wasn’t Billy, it was just I wanted two passers in there with George Evans and Ryan Woods.

“I thought if we could get hold of that midfield battle then we could get our wing-backs higher and attack down the sides.

“We have to find one or two things out and if we can get results along the way, fabulous.

“There’s no pressure on us. In terms of the integrity of the league you always want to try to get results and win games, do the best you can, which I thought we showed today.

“At the same time you have to be a little bit selfish and we have to find out one or two things ourselves that we can use next year.”

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John Kelly