Gary Rowett remains grounded despite Millwall featuring among pacesetters
Millwall moved to fourth in the Championship with a 2-0 win over Luton but manager Gary Rowett is not preparing for a promotion push just yet.
Martin Cranie’s own goal and Connor Mahoney’s cracking finish helped the Lions register back-to-back Championship victories after an indifferent start to the campaign.
Rowett’s side were not overly tested by the Hatters so when it comes to lofty ambitions, the boss is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I thought it was an excellent performance. When you’ve played so well as we did in the second half on Saturday, you’ve got to back it up,” he said.
“Good teams do that, they put back-to-back performances together and that’s what I asked the players to do.
“We’re six games in – we went to fourth but could have gone to 14th if we’d lost.
“It’s about us building, we’ve been defensively excellent for the 12 months, now it’s about translating that good play into more attacking moments in games.
“To be able to bring [new signing] Kenneth Zohore off the bench, it feels like a real luxury that we’ve never had previously.
“There’s no point standing here and eulogising about a 2-0 win and saying we’re one of the fancied teams because we’re not.
“We’ve got to work incredibly hard every week. We’ve got to be at our best every game to go and get a result.”
Nathan Jones’ Luton have now failed to score in three of their last four Championship games, with key striker James Collins missing the last two having tested positive for Covid-19.
They went behind on the cusp of half time when Matt Smith’s header deflected off the unfortunate Cranie for a goal Millwall’s efforts deserved.
The Hatters showed more promise after the break but Mahoney’s fine strike across goalkeeper Simon Sluga ended the contest.
Jones said: “I thought we were pretty passive, got out-muscled, we knew we can’t come here and have a fight with Millwall as they’re probably better than you at doing that.
“We need to really be aggressive and to play, to move the ball quickly, but we didn’t any time they pressed us.
“James is absolutely fine, but he’s had a positive result and had to stick to the protocols.
“We’ve had people who are waiting for Covid tests who haven’t been able to train, it’s a whole new world and a minefield.
“We’ve been disrupted heavily in the past four or five days which has coincided with two defeats.
“We did tests on Saturday, some people who played [against Millwall] haven’t trained since then because we’ve been waiting for tests.
“It’s carnage at times, this is the world we live in in a truncated season. We’re trying to stay safe and do the right things but it’s difficult.”