Neil Harris and John Eustace both took positives from the goalless draw between relegation battlers Millwall and Queens Park Rangers at The Den.
It was a game short on quality, with QPR substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel having the game’s best chance midway through the second half when he bore down on goal, only to be denied by the imposing figure of David Martin.
Harris admitted that his side were far from their creative best, but felt their spirit merited the point gained.
“I thought it was a great derby played at real tempo,” Harris said.
“It certainly lacked quality at times because of the pace of the game. We weren’t as inventive in the final third as we were at the weekend [in a 2-0 win over promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion], but I’m delighted with the whole team. We needed different characteristics to Saturday.
“That was probably the biggest team we’ve faced this year, barring Middlesbrough, and we had to stand strong to the direct play and the set-plays and we did.
“To get two clean sheets in a row is pleasing and it’s pushed us up the table again, which was the real positive looking at the results. Every point will be important. On the back of two tough home games, I think four points is a good return.”
Arguably the biggest flashpoint of the game came when a booming ball over the top saw Lee Gregory and Joel Lynch engaged in a running battle, with the home faithful claiming that the visiting centre-back had taken down the Lions’ top scorer. Naturally, both managers saw things slightly differently.
“I thought it was a foul,” said Harris. “I’ve seen it from different angles and the more you see it the more you can debate things, but you’re better seeing things in real time with a football brain. I said to the ref that every time a player gets between the ball and another player, it’s a foul. It doesn’t matter if he’s the last man or the first man.”
Eustace thought the Wales international timed his challenge to perfection.
“I thought it was a great tackle,” the former Derby midfielder said. “You see that here every week from the Millwall players. I think it showed the commitment we had tonight. It was a very hard-earned point.”
The 39-year-old was also pleased with the endeavour of his charges following a humbling 4-0 defeat last weekend at the home of champions-elect Norwich City and said he would not get too far ahead of himself in his caretaker role following the sacking of Steve McClaren.
“It was a proper group effort tonight and there were a lot of people probably doubting the players’ commitment, Eustace added.
“But tonight’s performance showed the club and players are together and they want to get enough points to stay in this league.
“I don’t know [about my future], you’ll have to ask Les [Ferdinand]. Obviously, they’re searching for a manager. As long as I can help the club, that’s all I’m worried about.”
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