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Dean Smith: 'they've got to go and take it'

The Head Coach talks about a tricky Millwall trip

8 March 2018

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Dean Smith faced the press on Thursday afternoon, answering questions about his squad, Millwall's style of play and the remaining games of the season.

"Everyone seems to be okay," said Dean. "I'm really pleased with the way we dealt with the situation. It was always going to be a tough game, Burton are fighting for their lives, but we controlled the game.

"We showed patience on the ball, we probably could have been better in the opposition penalty box in the first half with a couple of our pull-backs and sets. The final ball was probably lacking a couple of times but we got our just rewards.

"Our high pressure and counter-pressing was really good, I was really pleased with that on Tuesday night. I'm pleased that we got two goals, and then Ollie nearly got another one right at the end as well. I thought our set-pieces were really good as well, and that's something that we've been working quite hard on.

"That game's gone now, we move on. The only doubt we've got is Florian [Jozefzoon], he took a whack on the top of the foot and that became a laceration and a couple of stitches. So it will be touch and go for Saturday, but other than that everyone else is looking forward to it."

The Bees' taskmaster is still taking it slow when it comes to his Dutch winger.

"We'll have a look tomorrow and if he can get a boot on tomorrow we'll have more of an idea. At the moment he can't get a boot on.

"Sergi Canos came on for him and I thought he had a really bright 15 minutes, almost back to his best, so we've got an able replacement. We've also got Chiedozie [Ogbene] who stayed back and played 90 minutes for the B Team against Barnet. Alan Judge played 90 minutes for the B Team, we've also got Lewis Macleod, so we have replacements if we need them.

"Sergi has probably been frustrated that he hasn't played as many minutes, and he probably would have done if he hadn't have been injured at the end of pre-season. It's been a bit of a stop-start season for him. If his chance arises, I'm sure he'll go and grab it with both hands."

Dean also addressed how his squad players maintain their concentration when they are sitting out some games.

"We have to make sure that we put on the appropriate sessions, so they are up to scratch should they be called upon but it's the players' responsibility because they need to be ready.

"If they get the chance, they need to go and take it to get the shirt and keep the shirt. That's the way the first 11 works at this place. Once you've got it, keep hold of it and make sure you keep playing well otherwise somebody will be pushing you for it.

"I'm very fortunate I've got a bright young bunch of players here who were recruited because of their potential. It's not just their potential but the fact they want to get better as players, so they are pushing each other every day and that's what you want."

Millwall are a side that are also sat just below the play-offs, a point behind Dean's side but having played one more game than The Bees. Dean explained how much is riding on the weekend's fixtures.

"It's a big London derby now," he said. "It's one that we are looking forward to. Our game with Cardiff was called off last week so I went to watch Millwall play Sunderland.

"Sunderland got a goal out of nothing really and they had spells where they kept possession but never really troubled Millwall after that. It was a good strike by Oviedo, but in the second half Millwall came out and ramped it up.

"With the fans getting behind them there, it makes it more tough for the opposition. I must say I was impressed by Sunderland's following, which was fantastic on the day and I'm sure our following will be the same.

"It will be a different type of game, Sunderland aren't in the best run of form at the moment. We've won three out of four and Chopper's done a great job there, and deservedly been nominated for the London Manager of the Year."

Dean was also asked about the identity of both football clubs evolving over the last few years.

"Our style of football is a little bit different to the style of Millwall but we certainly both want teams that are going to work hard," he said. "Our supporters expect to see that, Millwall supporters also expect to see that. It makes for a really good game and hopefully we can come out on top.

"We feel that we've been in a good run of form and have had consistency about us all season so it's going to be a real test. All the games between now and the end are going to be tests."

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