Neil Harris praises Millwall squad as Sunderland win secures Championship spot

Duncan Watmore scored the only goal at the Stadium of Light.

Neil Harris has overseen six wins in his 11 matches in charge at Millwall
Neil Harris has overseen six wins in his 11 matches in charge at Millwall (John Walton/PA)

Neil Harris paid tribute to the squad he inherited for ensuring Millwall will be playing Sky Bet Championship football again next season.

The Lions guaranteed their place in the second tier courtesy of a third straight win delivered by Duncan Watmore’s 71st-minute strike against former club Sunderland.

The forward pounced at the near post to turn in Brooke Norton-Cuffy’s delivery and that proved enough to earn a vital three points for Millwall.

Harris praised all of his players, having seen the team deliver six victories in his first 11 matches in charge to climb away from the relegation zone.

Harris said: “Both teams can be disappointed with how we handled it at times. It became a typical game of football in April.

“We came with a clean-sheet mentality. We wanted an attacking threat but the important thing was to have a clean sheet. We needed a moment to score a goal.

“I’m delighted for the players. We had resilience, desire, all the Millwall traits.

“I couldn’t have envisaged being here in this position seven weeks ago when I took over. To win six games out of 11 is a great achievement to reach my demands.

“My job was to galvanise the football club. I did the first one and hopefully now we have done the second.”

Sunderland already knew what division they would be playing in next season but this was the sixth game without a win at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats have failed to score in four of those matches, with interim boss Michael Dodds admitting that work needs to be done on the transfer front to improve that next season.

He said: “We knew the first goal would be important. We changed the shape slightly to have more attackers on the pitch.

“A by-product of that was Millwall waiting for one moment. They put so many bodies behind the ball and we knew that one moment would be so crucial. I’m angry because we emptied the middle of the pitch and they scored on transition.

“But we didn’t work the goal enough either, we weren’t clever enough or quick enough in the top third of the pitch. Those are the main frustrations.

“The top area of the pitch is where we are trying to find solutions, to try to be more of a threat.

“I’ve got two more games and it won’t be solved in the next two games. I have tweaked, tinkered, tried to find solutions in that area, but it’s obvious we need to do some work around.

“We will keep working with the group to find those solutions.”