Gary Rowett hails Covid-hit Millwall’s ‘incredible fight and spirit’

Coventry City v Millwall – Sky Bet Championship – Coventry Building Society Arena
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Gary Rowett praised his depleted Millwall side after their resolute 1-0 win at Coventry.

The English Football League had denied the Lions’ request for the match to be postponed and arrived in Coventry with just 15 senior players available.

But Tom Bradshaw was on hand to poke home for the fourth consecutive game to secure an unlikely victory.

“Incredible,” Rowett said. “All through it, the players wanted to play the game but we didn’t feel we reached the protocols of the EFL which was 14 fit players but a goalkeeper can count as an outfield player on the bench which seems a bit bizarre.

“We had two players on the bench that hadn’t changed but it’s times like that you’ve got to show a bit of spirit and the players showed incredible fight and spirit.

“I thought there were good bits of play, I wouldn’t say we were comfortable but I thought our shape was good and I didn’t think Coventry created too much.”

Bradshaw’s 79th-minute winner was just Millwall’s second shot on target after the Lions thwarted Coventry throughout, the Welsh striker netting his sixth goal in nine appearances.

Rowett added: “Will he work his socks off? Tick. Will he do what managers want him to do? Tick.

“What he has to do to get us to the next level is score goals and this season he has shown so much more composure.

“He has worked on things himself and we have tried to get him higher up the pitch.”

Coventry boss Mark Robins branded the festive period a “nightmare” after his side also experienced positive Covid-19 tests and not knowing if the game would go ahead.

“It’s a nightmare, it’s not much fun at all at the moment,” said Robins. “We’ve been suffering just like everybody else, I’ve had half a squad for 10 days.

“It’s difficult to plan, they’ve obviously got a cause because they’ve tried to get the game cancelled because they’ve got some issues, but we’ve all got issues going on.

“It’s been off, it’s been on, yesterday Millwall said it was off, then the EFL said no it’s on. From that point on it’s been on but that’s the situation we’re dealing with.

“I’ve got to be honest because that level of performance was expected. They gave everything that they could do and ran out of legs. The quality wasn’t quite there because of the lack of training and cohesion.

“We were in the game the whole way through and it was either going to go one way or another, it was either going to be 0-0 or one of us was going to win 1-0. Unfortunately for us they had the cutting edge.

“You can see the level physically and mentally has dipped, we’ve got to get that back up, get a run of games going and get a run of games in.”

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