• by Julian Taylor

New Millwall boss Rowett 'really excited' by challenge of the Den


As hospitality goes, Gary Rowett appears to have already found a huge welcome at Millwall.

The new Lions manager oversaw a 2-0 win over Stoke City after just a couple of days with his new charges in training.

Goals from Ben Thompson in the first half and a penalty by man-of-the-match Jed Wallace from the penalty sport in 72 minutes, extinguished the lame challenge from the Potters as well as providing the perfect start to Rowett’s latest Championship tenure, this time in south London.

Millwall have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 league games, so today’s victory came with an extra layer of satisfaction.

On this afternoon’s evidence of sheer hard work and application, the former Stoke manager has clearly given everyone at The Den a psychological lift, following his succession to departed club legend Neil Harris.

And although there will be far better opposition to face throughout this long campaign than Stoke City - who were predictable and lacking quality - the win is as good a start to his regime as could be hoped for.

“It is certainly a very good start especially after just a day and half with the players,” said Rowett. “We did a lot of work on switching play over Stoke and in the first half in worked well. The first half intensity and attacking and movement was really pleasing.

“I think their first shot on target was a looping header in 85 minutes. We didn’t start rhe second half well but we did well and dealt with their threat in the box. I actually felt the crowd got behind us and helped us finish stronger and we could have nicked another one.”

Rowett may feel there is a bit of unfinished business in his managerial career after a near miss with Derby County in the division – and the energy around Millwall is already something he feels infused by.

“I’m really excited to be here,” added Rowett. “If there’s an example of the welcome you want it’s here. Everyone wants to help and its been a brilliant first week and you want to finish with win. The Millwall fans were brilliant and whenever we need them they got behind the players and gave them energy.”

Millwall’s release valve was epitomised by Jed Wallace, the best player on the pitch at The Den.

Said Rowett: “He’s been fantastic and the whole team has real energy and desire. Jed’s the one along with Fergie (Shane Ferguson) who gives us tactical discipline.

“I’m just surprised he still had the energy to take the penalty which settled us down. The penalty helped us see the game out in what was a controlled performance. We still have bits to work on though.

“When you have such desire and energy and players kicking and screaming at each other in training it shows they want to climb the table. We did a similar thing at Birmingham where we finished 10th. It's only one game but there’s a lot of potential.”

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