Lee Johnson hailed the character of his Bristol City players as they kept alive their hopes of snatching a play-off place with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Millwall.
The hosts went in front five minutes before the break through Lee Gregory’s acrobatic volley from Steve Morison’s knock-down, but roared back into the contest after Max O’Leary saved Shaun Williams’ penalty midway through the second half.
Jamie Paterson’s pinpoint free-kick and Famara Diedhiou’s low drive sparked wild scenes in the away end.
Should Derby fail to beat Swansea on Wednesday, the Robins will have the chance to leapfrog both the Rams and Middlesbrough on the final day at Hull, and Johnson was delighted with his side’s late response.
“We did our job tonight,” the Bristol City boss said. “It’s unbelievable character from my players. That was Roy of the Rovers-type stuff, to save that penalty and then be as good as we were in the last 25 minutes.
“We’ve progressed as a group, without doubt. There’s been so much good work, on and off the pitch.
“I want to get promoted, make no mistake. Nobody hides that at the football club, but it’s a tough league and you’ve got to earn it.
“You only have to look at Millwall, who got 72 points last season and missed the play-offs and only just avoided relegation this season, that can happen year-on-year in the Championship.
“It’s a relentless, tough, but fantastic league. If we can take it to the last day then it becomes a lottery. All we can do is try our best and go again.”
When asked about Derby’s game on Wednesday, Johnson added: “I was thinking about going on general anaesthetic. Give me a shout when it’s over!”
Millwall boss Neil Harris, meanwhile, felt his team were unlucky not to draw the contest.
“We grew into the game and I thought the first half-an-hour of the second half was very good. I was delighted with the goal – that was Morison and Gregory vintage.
“It was disappointing not to get a point, which would have been fitting in our final match at The Den this season.”
Harris paid tribute to goalscorer Gregory, who looks set to leave the club this summer after contract talks stalled.
“He’s been an unbelievable player for me. It was a big performance tonight,” Harris said. “He scored a good goal and could have had a couple more.
“I’d love to keep him, it looks unlikely now, but the attitude to want to play and train, to put himself forward, to work, demonstrates the type of character that we need.”
However, Harris was clearly angered by a lack of commitment from some members of his squad this term and highlighted in no uncertain terms that those players would be shipped out in the summer.
“I will only have players who want to be at this club in my changing room, players who put their professionalism and love for the game before anything else,” Harris added.
“The level of performances from some individuals this year has been nowhere near good enough. I won’t accept these standards next year.”
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