Millwall boss Gary Rowett proud despite falling short of play-offs

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By Press Association Published: 7 May 2022 - 3.26pm

Gary Rowett says it is impossible to be disappointed after his Millwall side just came up short in their Sky Bet Championship play-off bid with a 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

The Lions came into the game needing a win and other results to go their way to have a chance of securing a top-six finish but fell to defeat courtesy of Kieffer Moore’s late strike.

In the end, even a win would not have been good enough given the victories for Sheffield United and Luton – and boss Rowett insists his overriding feeling is of pride.

He said: “It’s been a tough season in many ways, we’ve had to work incredibly hard – probably a lot harder than we normally would have to work in a season just to find ways to win games.

“But the team find a way because it has got such character and such hunger and drive and, even today, I think we’d give the game a really good go.

“It’s been a good season and I’ve said that to the players in there. Don’t be downhearted.

“We should all be very proud of what we’ve achieved. As a manager, I’m always going to be a little bit more miserable because I want to get into the top six, but I think for the players, they’ve given everything and I can’t really ask for a lot more from them.”

While Millwall face up to another season in the Championship with a squad that will be weakened by departures of big players such as Jed Wallace, Benik Afobe and Oliver Burke, Bournemouth are looking up at the Premier League.

Victory meant the Cherries finished second, just two points adrift of Fulham and for boss Scott Parker there is a basis to mount their top-flight campaign on the back of his rock solid defence.

Parker, whose side conceded fewer than anyone else in the division, said: “I wanted to make sure that my team produced the performance objectives, in terms of we had things to play for – the record of clean sheets today in this division.

“Can we get a clean sheet to be the team that have the most clean sheets in his division? Can we be the team that have conceded the least amount of goals? Can we be the team that have lost the least amount of games in this division as well?

“One million per cent we are going to need to build on that because we’re going into a division next year that is ruthless, is clinical.

“It’s another 10 steps up, the gap between the Championship and the Premier League. It is vast, we’re going to need to build our game on a real solidness as a team, not just the keeper and a back four really. As a unit, as a team.

“We’re going to need to give ourselves a constant solid foundation really so it puts us in good stead in saying that we’re going to face some challenges, of course we are.”

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