Fan's Roar: Millwall struggle to lift themselves for the smaller sides
COMMENTby Ian Toal
We would have liked the optimism of the new season to have lasted a bit longer, but Rotherham did a good job on us last Saturday and we could have no complaints about the result, only about the poor performance.
Sadly the display was a lot like last season before Holloway took charge. A bright opening 30 minutes was not capitalised upon before we started to lose domination of the midfield while at the same time running out of ideas going forward.
The Millers started to get a foothold in the game and missed a few chances before they eventually scored after giving us plenty of warnings about the dangers they were posing. They then defended resolutely and despite some late pressure we came up well short.
What made it a bad defeat to take was with all due respect to the Yorkshire side they are not a good side and will be fighting at the wrong end of the table for most of the season.
I'm sure if we had been playing a stronger side like Norwich City or Derby County for example, we would have lifted our game and probably gone on to record a good win but we struggle to lift ourselves against the smaller sides in the division.
We've had that problem for a few years now. You can only wonder if motivation is a problem for the players.
They know they have to be 100% on their games to win against the top sides, but must subconsciously, if not deliberately, slacken off a touch against lesser opposition which causes these poor performances and results.
Although we lost again on Tuesday night in the second round of the League Cup at home to Southampton, it was a much improved performance especially considering we effectively fielded our young reserve side.
Holloway made nine changes from the team that started against Rotherham while Premier League Southampton made just three changes.
We were the best team in the first half but the little bit more quality that The Saints possess came through and they finished 2-0 winners with the second goal coming in stoppage time. This performance showed that we have a few good youngsters coming through.
The Under-16 side demonstrated that promise for the future by winning the Mayo Trophy over in Ireland last weekend.
They defeated the Republic of Ireland Under-16 side in the final which can only benefit them in their quest in making a career in the senior game in future years.
Focussing back on the senior team, we must take advantage of the poor start Blackpool have made this season by turning over the Tangerines when we entertain them at The Den on Saturday before signing off for the international break.