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Millwall v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - The Den

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Two up, two down! Sunderland salvage Millwall draw after Cirkin goes in where it hurts

Despite enduring a rough ride against the Lions, our young squad didn’t fold and the point was hard-earned. We asked our writers for their thoughts on the game.

Photo by Ben Whitley/PA Images via Getty Images

Gav says…

A very good result!

Millwall is a genuinely horrible place to go and play football for an away team.

They’ve got a way of playing, the fans are right on top of the pitch and are very loud and boisterous, and they’re not afraid to rough you up. In short, they’re pretty much the anti-Sunderland.

In the lead up to the game. Tony Mowbray spoke a lot of truth and whilst highlighting the same things I just did about Millwall, he acknowledged that we’d still have to go there and play football, but also be prepared to dig in.

I think we struggled at times but ultimately did enough to earn a point- and not many teams have managed to do that at The New Den this season.

Well done, Lads!

A goal from a set piece

I’m sad that Dennis Cirkin got injured in the process, but the fact we managed to score a headed goal from a set piece against arguably the strongest side in the division from those situations is encouraging.

It seems like we’ve taken on board the criticism of our set pieces and are improving them slowly but surely.

Fingers crossed we keep it up.

Poor defending for Millwall’s goal

Danny Collins was frustrated by the state of our defending for their goal, and he was bang on.

Why have we got one of our smallest players marking a lad who is 6ft9?

We’ve conceded so many goals this season from situations like that and hopefully with the addition of some bigger boys that can improve, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tighten up on the basics.

Patrick Roberts in a nutshell

I love Roberts.

He’s a mesmerising footballer with insane ability, but his decision-making is often his biggest downfall, as we saw in this game with the fantastic run he made from inside our own half which led to him shooting when a pass to Joe Gelhardt would’ve made more sense.

Something for him to work on - a pass would have resulted in a goal, and he would have earned just as many plaudits as if he’d finished the move off himself.

Millwall v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - The Den Photo by Ben Whitley/PA Images via Getty Images

Jon Guy says…

A good point

We weren’t allowed to play our game, which is credit to Millwall, but we came home with a point which was hard-earned.

We had to battle and ultimately took a point from a game we struggled to get into.

A real team effort!

It highlights the way in which the team played yesterday that you’d struggle to pick a Sunderland man of the match.

No one stood out, but they all showed grit.

Ross Stewart’s absence

We need to solve our striking issues.

Joe Gelhardt did well but hopefully Tony Mowbray has an idea on how we’ll set up attacking-wise in the weeks ahead.

It’s too early to make any judgements, but we need to develop more of a cutting edge.

Overcomplicating our play

Too often, we’re trying to do too much in and around the box and trying to walk the ball into the net.

Players are getting into decent positions, but yesterday we were guilty of trying to get past one man too many rather than a pass to the man in space.

Malc Dugdale says…

Commitment to the cause

The way Dennis Cirkin threw himself into that header without any care for his own safety was immense.

We worried for a bit as he lay prone on the pitch, but if his only injury is a bang on the head, he can come back from that through the suitable protocols and hopefully return soon.

Great effort, lad- you won us that point.

Pritchard is back!

We struggled to stop Millwall playing their way (which they deserve credit for, because they knew if this came down to good football, they were screwed) but the difference made by Alex Pritchard when he came on was huge.

The home crowd gave him some stick but his contribution to moving us up the pitch as a unit and his assist for Cirkin’s goal reminded us what we’ve been missing.

It was great to see him return.

Frustration for Joe Gelhardt

Though some of his hold-up play early on showed promise, we didn’t see a lot from Gelhardt, but then it was such a poor game anyone who relies on good football would’ve struggled yesterday.

He got a lot of minutes and will get sharper, but when he had that one chance I wish he’d just smashed it.

He will improve in time though, both in terms of his fitness and his interaction with his teammates.

A midfield muddle

It was clear that we needed more in the middle to counter what Millwall were doing to stop us playing though our central two but for me, Tony Mowbray didn’t really address that soon enough.

We earned a draw at one of the hardest stadiums we’ll visit, but we need to protect Dan Neil and Edouard Michut when the midfield battle is physical, and I hope Mowbray gets that as much as we all did.

Millwall v Sunderland Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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