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Alex Pearce salutes Millwall’s team effort in absence of senior coaching staff

Millwall v Barnsley – Sky Bet Championship – The Den
(Image credit: Kieran Cleeves)

Alex Pearce says he is bursting with pride after Millwall shrugged off the absence of their entire senior coaching staff to beat Preston 2-0.

Two coaches tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday and the club instructed all senior coaching personnel to self-isolate for 10 days, joining manager Gary Rowett who tested positive last week.

Under 23s manager Kevin Nugent and player-coach Shaun Williams took charge for the win at Deepdale, secured by a first goal from on-loan striker Kenneth Zohore and a Jed Wallace penalty.

Captain Alex Pearce said: “We’re all really happy and really pleased with the result.

“As for me, I’m proud of the lads tonight. It’s been a really difficult 48 hours or so for them, and it can be a bit unsettling for some players, but they’ve just got on with their jobs and they’ve come through this game with flying colours.

“The gaffer was right there behind them, he set everything up beforehand on Zoom, and he’s been in touch throughout the game, directing on tactics, asking opinions on substitutions and pretty much everything else.

“The gaffer has been behind it all, but it’s also been a terrific team effort overall.

“The lads really stuck to their game-plan tonight. Defensively we’ve been very solid and we just didn’t let Preston threaten us nearly enough.

“We were also very dangerous on the counter attack too. It was a terrific all-round effort.”

Millwall are up to fourth in the table following the victory, which they deserved after an impressive performance.

Wallace teed up Zohore to fire in from close range minutes into the second half, before Wallace settled it with a late penalty.

Preston are without a goal at Deepdale in the Championship this season and manager Alex Neil said a sickness bug ruined their preparation.

“We didn’t play well enough. To win a game you need seven or eight players to play well and I didn’t think we had anywhere near enough players playing well enough tonight,” he said.

“These are not excuses, but we did have six lads who weren’t feeling well at all yesterday.

“I had asked everyone to make me aware if anything like that happened, and to be fair they all did and all came back to say that they were fit to play.

“This is the situation we face at the moment. If anyone has a tickle, a cough or a sore tummy, people are thinking they’ve got the dreaded virus.

“They were all tested, and all came back negative, but whatever happens we would never risk anybody.”