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Millwall put final thoughts to one side

14 Mar 2013 10:17:32

Millwall put final thoughts to one side

Assistant manager Joe Gallen urged Millwall to focus on npower Championship survival after booking their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Lions captain Danny Shittu headed the only goal of the sixth-round replay against Blackburn to secure a Wembley encounter against Wigan. Shittu marshalled a Millwall defence that shut out Rovers for the second time in four days and Gallen believes such solidity can act as a foundation for moving more than five points away from the relegation zone.

"We're delighted to win, I know it means we get through to the semi-final but we won 1-0 and we haven't been winning many games," he said.

"We didn't concede, which is a good start because our league form is not very good. The back four, with Jack Smith (in front of them) and (goalkeeper) David Forde - if you look at those six, I thought that in these two games they were pretty outstanding.

"One of the biggest things with getting through to Wembley is the motivation for the players who want to be in that team - they're going to have to perform in the league games.

"Our league form is pretty alarming. We're sliding down the table fast and everyone below us keeps winning. On 44 points we need at least three more wins, maybe four more wins to secure our status in the Championship which is always the big aim at Millwall."

A sparse crowd of 8,635 - the lowest FA Cup quarter-final attendance in recent memory and 100 fewer than the number at Chesterfield's last-eight clash against Wrexham in 1997 - could not inspire a Blackburn fightback.

Leon Best's 63rd-minute attempt, brilliantly cleared off the line by Shane Lowry, marked a rare moment of inspiration and Rovers manager Michael Appleton conceded morale was through the floor at full-time.

"You can probably imagine the atmosphere in the dressing room after the game," he said. "It's the type of situation that, as a manager, you don't forget. To lose how we did lose, to a set-play, probably makes it even harder to take. We huffed and puffed, the lads gave us absolutely everything to be fair.

"I had to make a lot of changes again due to injuries, which was hard, but I can't ask any more of them. From an effort point of view, there's nothing more that any of the players could have given me. From a quality point of view, yes we could have been better."


PA

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