Den display is pointer to Wanderers future
DOUGIE Freedman is more convinced than ever that Wanderers are on the right road, despite their winless run in the league now stretching into double figures.
For all Ian Holloway’s rants and raves, even the eccentric Millwall boss must accept it would have been “game over” had Lukas Jutkiewicz put his side 2-0 up from the penalty spot with 13 minutes to play.
Instead, Freedman was left clutching only a point as he tried to remain positive about a defensive display that had been resolute, if nothing else.
It is now 10 games since Wanderers last tasted victory – on Boxing Day at Barnsley – but the manager remains sure the performances he is getting from his squad will soon translate into results.
“It’s hard to see the vision right now, of course it is, but this is a younger age group of players, a different squad. Could they have come here a year ago and done that? I don’t think so,” he said, perhaps with a nod to the team beaten 2-1 at The Den shortly before his predecessor Owen Coyle was sacked.
“To play three games in a week and come to Millwall with that last 20 minutes requires a lot of energy in the legs.
“Progress will only be recognised when I get results, I know that, but you need to go through transition to get progress, you can’t just snap your fingers then all of a sudden there it is.
“Let’s get it straight, this club is in transition and it is difficult to get through. But when I see the commitment and desire from my players like that, I feel like I’m on the right path. A little bit more quality up top and it’s a different conversation.”
Freedman looks like getting his extra man “up top” with the incoming arrival of Cardiff City’s Joe Mason – a man not necessarily revered on the terraces after a mixed loan spell earlier in the season, but one definitely rated in South Wales and beyond.
And while the defence has come under some criticism in recent weeks, the Scot admits that it was on the attacking front that Wanderers were most found lacking against the Lions.
“What is happening at the moment is that teams are getting one, maybe two opportunities against us at the moment and yet still getting a goal,” he said.
“That kind of thing can really get you down. But I have said to the lads, make sure you look at the whole reflection of the game.
“We’ve limited them to long shots that the goalkeeper is entitled to save and defended well. Yes, I know, we could have been better going forward and we’ve got to make more of the opportunities that are coming our way.
“We perhaps need to be a bit more calculating in attack because I think we got in a couple of good positions.
“The very simple facts are that we got a goal, we hit the post and if the penalty goes in, we win the game.”