Harris: Preparation key to Millwall win over Derby

Neil Harris
Neil Harris© Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Manager Neil Harris believes Millwall’s first win of the Championship season was down to their meticulous pre-match preparation as they beat Derby 2-1 at The Den.

First-half goals from Lee Gregory and Shaun Williams were enough to earn the Lions their first three points of the season – despite a second-half fight back from Frank Lampard’s side when David Nugent set up a grandstand finish.

Harris says Millwall did their homework on the Rams and were worthy of their win.

He said: “With the level of analysis in all football nowadays, but certainly in the Premier League and Championship, you know exactly what to expect from the opponent. All you don’t know is what the teamsheet is going to be.

“You know exactly who does what, how they play. We knew exactly what Derby were going to do. It’s difficult executing the game plan for 90 minutes. We did it brilliantly for 45. The last half hour we got tired.

“Derby did it for probably 60 minutes against us but not for the first half hour. That’s the battle.”

Millwall took the lead in the seventh minute when Williams fired in a free-kick from the right-hand flank, which took numerous deflections but was eventually guided home by Gregory.

The home side doubled their lead after 20 minutes with Williams capitalising on some poor Derby defensive work to fire home from long range.

Derby pushed for a reply instantly, with Tom Lawrence firing in to the side netting as well as slamming a free kick into the wall.

With 20 minutes to go Mason Mount dragged a shot wide, but just minutes later David Nugent found a way back into the game as he fired a long-range effort home from 30 yards.

Millwall had an opportunity to put the game to bed with Steve Morison failing to convert when it would have been easier to score.

Harris added: “We’re going to face some really good sides here but what won’t change is our approach, our mentality and the physical aspect of our game. That will always be there.

“I remember every game I’ve managed. I’m sure Frank got a warm reception from our fans. He’s going to be a cracking manager, the man he is, the professionalism he had in his career, the success he’s had.

“It takes time, I’m still learning every day. He’s going to do hugely well as a manager and coach.”