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  • By Yann Tear

Promotion 'unlikely' admits Millwall boss Rowett after Baggies administer heavy dose of real

Gary Rowett admits he does not expect his side to gain promotion this season, even though they remain very much in contention for the play-offs.

The Lions were well beaten in Sunday’s clash at the Den with league leaders West Brom, but the 2-0 loss to a clearly superior outfit does not mean it’s quite game over yet.

With matches to come soon against others teams fighting for top six places, everything is still up for grabs, but the Millwall manager is determined to stay realistic.

“I’m not going to set targets,” he said following what was only a third home defeat of the season in the championship.

“I’d be really happy with promotion, but I don’t think that’s going to happen at the moment.

“I don’t really set a target, I think it’s just about performing much better every game and we’ll end up where we end up.

“I think there are many factors which can dictate where we finish in the league. But I think before today we’d taken the third most points in the division over the time we’ve been here, so we’ve shown that we can perform to a level. But it’s hard to set that target.”

Rowett’s heavy dose of realism was logical in the face of an impressive showing by the visitors who were happy to roll up their sleaves in murky conditions caused by Storm Ciara, and also produced some very decent football.

“When you play a side like West Brom, as we found against Leeds recently, sometimes there’s an extra bit of zip, an extra bit of composure about those type of teams that make it so difficult,” the Lions boss said.

“I have to say West Brom’s mentality in difficult conditions, was fabulous. Whilst before the second I felt there might be an opportunity for us to get back in the game, it would have been pretty lucky if had of done because it really could have been three or four half time.

“There was definitely a big gulf today, which was disappointing, because a lot of that gulf was down to our level of performance.

“We started the game as if it was like a nice summer’s day in May, because we were trying to pass the ball short and gave them two or three opportunities by doing that.

“We spoke about trying to start the game with a lot more intensity to make the game really difficult for them early on and make them defend with our tempo and we kind of did the opposite.

“I think they handled the conditions better than us. Whether that’s because they have maybe a little bit more technicality in their team and a bit more composure, I don’t know.”

Rowett added: “We’ve worked incredibly hard to try and try and stay with the levels in the Championship, but [today] we’ve come up a little bit short. I’d expected a little bit more from our team. The fact it was only 2-0 probably flatters us a little bit.

“We know we’re in for a big month. We’re playing Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, West Brom, Fulham and then Preston away, but if you want to be in the top part of the league, you’ve got to go and compete and pay well against those sides.

“But we’ve got to be at our max. We can’t be anything other than our maximum or we won’t get results.”

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