Brought back down to earth, with a bang

Connor Mahoney – recalled to the XI on Saturday.

You didn’t really expect Millwall to pickup another win on Saturday did you? I mean, if you read my last post I definitely did believe we would. Millwall at home to Huddersfield, still in a transition under their new manager, with us fresh from a great win up north in Preston, surely we would do the business?!

Well, we didn’t, in fact we got our backside handed to us. Going down 3-0 to a side who actually lost to Preston the weekend before last, showing exactly why we argue as fans that The Championship is one of Europe’s best divisions for competitiveness.

Pre match ahead of Saturday’s game, with manager Gary Rowett still isolating at home having tested positive for the coronavirus, the onus was on the players and interim managers Alex Pearce and Shaun Williams to “go again” and backup their performance from Wednesday night.

Pearce post match was very open with the club in his interview, saying we needed to do more in the forward areas, also sighting that perhaps Wednesdays win took a lot out of the group. You couldn’t disagree with that statement, but both sides were in the same position and it was the visitors who looked more at the races.

Perhaps, with only one day on the training pitch to prepare for Huddersfield it was always going to be a big ask of the players. Especially with changes to the side guaranteed with new signing and goalscorer from midweek Kenneth Zohore missing out through injury.

Upon 2:00pm arriving we learnt that the side had two changes from Wednesday with Mason Bennett also missing out, although later featuring from the bench in the second half of Saturday’s game. Connor Mahoney stepped in for Bennett whilst Tom Bradshaw was selected ahead of Matt Smith in place of Zohore.

It did raise an eyebrow or two with Bennett dropping to the bench, considering the impact he had on Wednesday night. However, I could only imagine this is only due to Bennett’s stop start career so far in SE16, with injuries always looming over the forwards ahead since arriving in January this year. With Mahoney also impressing this month, and unlucky to miss out on Wednesday completely, it does also highlight the growing squad we have.

With that said though, I felt we missed both Zohore and Bennett against Huddersfield. Especially with the pace and rawness of Bennett in the forward line, he offers something unique when compared against our other forward options, and despite huffing and puffing our way through the game Saturday, real moments of quality in the forward areas were few and far between.

Things could’ve played out very differently if we were rewarded a penalty early doors from one of our many opening stage corners. However, despite winning a penalty midweek, with our height advantage, it seems to play against us when grabbling goes on during set plays.

I’m still very much on the fence when it comes to players like Mahoney, his talent is very obvious but blowing hot and cold, more so cold for me is an issue Rowett needs to resolve. Bennett is also likely to have games where his involvement is less, however with the strength and pace he offers, I feel we can afford to carry him more on an off game as compared to Mahoney.

Credit should be given towards Huddersfield, they caused our backline problems with their forwards interchanging amongst each other, dragging our central defenders often out of position and punishing us when chances were presented to them. The second goal has to go down as another Bart error, and hopefully we’ve firmly seen the back of them as the timing of the mistake Saturday in my eyes proved fatal for the result.

Positives have to be taken though from our last five matches, only losing one and winning three. With Rowett now back as of today, hopefully we can setup well ahead of Tuesdays trip to Carrow Road, an unhappy hunting ground for as long as I can remember for a Millwall side. Norwich also seem to be gathering their own form with no defeat in five and surging into the play-offs at the weekend.

With the underdog tag put back on us tomorrow, hopefully we can pickup a good result but more importantly show more performance wise and quickly forget about Saturdays defeat.

Come on Millwall…

Brought back down to earth, with a bang

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