Neil Harris revealed invoking the spirit of Millwall legends such as Teddy Sheringham, Terry Hurlock and Les Briley inspired his team’s victory over Sheffield United.
Harris, who made nearly 450 appearances for the visitors before being appointed manager earlier this year, hailed their “determination” and fighting spirit en route to Saturday’s triumph at Bramall Lane.
Despite reserving special praise for Ben Thompson and his fellow midfielder, George Saville, Harris attributed their resolute display to a speech he delivered in the dressing room ahead of kick-off.
“I told the boys beforehand that Millwall sides of old used to come to places like this and win, that doing the same was their challenge, and they stood up to it well,” he said.
“I think people know what they are going to get from us now. They were warriors from one to 11 out there.
“We’ve been better on the ball this season; we weren’t at our best in that regard out there. But our shape was excellent. That, combined with our spirit, helped us to get the result - spirit, a determination and absolute desire.”
Millwall, now unbeaten in four away fixtures against United, took a first-half lead courtesy of Aiden O’Brien’s first-half strike and the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international, one of seven academy graduates in Harris’ matchday squad, scored the winner after Jose Baxter’s equaliser.
“I made it clear at the start of the season that I was going to put my faith in youth,” Harris said. “Yes, we are going to strengthen and, yes, we might bring a little more experience in, but you’ve got to give them the opportunity.
“George Saville is still a young-ish player and I thought Thompson was good too.
Do we bring an older player in or do we give him a chance?”