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Steve Morison: Mahlon Romeo handled abuse from Millwall fans really well

West Bromwich Albion v Cardiff City – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns
(Image credit: David Davies)

Cardiff manager Steve Morison refused to be drawn on Mahlon Romeo’s reaction to the abuse he received at former club Millwall following his side’s 2-0 loss at The Den.

Romeo, who made 221 appearances for the Lions, was returning to his old stomping ground for the first time after leaving for the Bluebirds in the summer and copped a barrage of flak from the home fans throughout the game.

His frustration boiled over after the final whistle, with the 26-year-old gesturing towards the crowd before he was ushered down the tunnel by members of Cardiff’s staff.

It capped an afternoon where goals from Charlie Cresswell and Benik Afobe ended Millwall’s run of three straight defeats and extended the visitors’ winless streak to five games.

Morison, a former Millwall player himself, said: “It’s life, we have to deal with it. It’s not nice and it’s a lot easier to do it when they win the game, so he doesn’t have to worry about it now.

“I think he handled it amazingly well from the first minute until the end, but this shouldn’t be the focus of this conversation.

“The focus should be purely talking about football. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be having this conversation – I hadn’t really thought about it. I thought he handled it very well.”

Morison’s opposite number, Gary Rowett, had sympathy for his former player, saying: “What I will say is Mahlon is a really good lad.

“He was a really popular player for us. He played a lot of games for Millwall, he was a really good servant to the club and that’s all I can say.

“When you come back to your old clubs, I don’t know what you expect but you know it’s probably not going to be a nice reception.

“I’m not condoning that, but I thought he handled it really, really well.”

In the match itself, Cardiff’s Jaden Philogene had the first big chance after 14 minutes when he headed Max Watters’ inviting chipped ball into the box wide.

The Bluebirds then came closer still when Niels Nkounkou’s low ball across goal ran for Sheyi Ojo, who prodded against the post from point-blank range.

Mark Harris then became the second visiting player to strike the woodwork before Cresswell, who earlier replaced the injured Shaun Hutchinson, put Millwall ahead by heading in fellow substitute Scott Malone’s corner.

Another player who stepped off the bench sealed the win for the Lions as Afobe chased down a long ball before beating Nkounkou and lifting the ball over the onrushing Ryan Allsop.

On what was a much-needed win, Rowett said: “I think it was back to normal service resumed at home.

“Our home form has been excellent. Against Reading it was a little bit of a blip and today I just wanted us to show a little bit of composure and a little bit more bravery on the ball.

“I thought we played around Cardiff really well and it’s not easy to do that when you’re on the back of three defeats.”

Morison added: “Against the best in the league at set-plays, it’s always going to be a tough ask and we dealt with it, on the whole, pretty well.

“They scored the goal and changed the course of the game, and it was tough for us to come back.”

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