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You can't deny Lomas' Millwall are more entertaining than Jackett's
3:33pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in Sport
Former boss Kenny Jackett is pictured in his final home game with Crystal Palace - a drab 0-0 draw infamous only for Dany N'Guessan's strop. PICTURES BY EDMUND BOYDEN.
SAY what you want about Steve Lomas, but Millwall columnist MATT LITTLE reckons at least he is getting his money’s worth from home games as Den entertainment levels have improved no end under Kenny Jackett’s successor.
AND so the roller coaster ride that is this season continues.
Fresh from two away drubbings, the Lions welcomed Premier League-bound Queens Park Rangers to The Den for surely another embarrassing defeat.
Now I say surely because if the players were as unsure of our claret and blue tainted manager as us fans are, then we surely would have suffered defeat to a club fielding what basically amounts to a lower half Premier League side?
A side who haven't conceded a goal since Noah sailed the seas!
Yet what actually happened is the players dusted themselves down, came out fighting and gave the top team in the Championship their hardest game yet, securing a deserved point with an entertaining 2-2 draw.
The chance to throw in the towel even presented itself after Queens Park Rangers scored straight after Millwall were denied what most described as a stonewall penalty.
But the players didn't take it, instead regrouping and equalising early in the second half thanks to some excellent work by a rejuvenated Liam Trotter.
And there's another example of the real impact Steve Lomas is having at the club, rather than what our Millwall tinted glasses are telling us about the ex-West Ham captain.
Trotter is starting to look like the player who grabbed that dramatic injury time equaliser against Southampton all those years ago again.
Lomas has even set the midfielder a target of scoring ten goals by the season's end, thus spelling out exactly what role he expects Trotter to play in this Millwall side.
Then there's Scott Malone.
A change of voice in the dressing room and a bit of belief shown in him and we look like we've got a very exciting player on our books, especially compared to the little lost boy he was under Kenny Jackett.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't set out to write an anti-Jackett and pro-Lomas blog here.
After all, I still think Lomas has a hell of a lot to learn and the hammerings we've suffered this season are simply unacceptable, but you cannot deny certain truths.
One of which is the fact there is no way Jackett would have thrown four forwards on and ordered Paul Robinson to get up front too in a desperate bid to grab a late equaliser against a side like Queens Park Rangers.
Conversely, under Jackett we wouldn't have conceded nine goals in back-to-back defeats.
This is where I need to come clean and be honest.
I think I could start warming to Lomas if he continues to be as courageous/reckless as he was on Saturday against the division's best side.
That's because I am one of those football fans who prefers to lose 5-3 than win 1-0, crazy I know.
But the way I see it is Millwall aren't ever going to get automatic promotion from this division without serious investment, so we might as well be entertaining in our bid to simply tread water.
The alternative is the bore fest they are currently enjoying over at The Valley.
My favourite times as a Millwall fan after 1989 were the attacking sides of Bruce Rioch and Mark McGhee.
That Rioch side achieved nothing, in fact given the talent available it massively underachieved, but they were always well worth the entrance money.
As were McGhee's side, who swept all before them and who in my opinion were one of the best sides to ever play in the third tier of English football.
I loved Jackett the man, and I acknowledge the excellent job he did in turning us from divisional strugglers to Wembley winners in a few short years, but I never warmed to the football he wanted to play.
Actually, that's not quite true.
Like everything in life it's not as black and white as that.
I really enjoyed Jackett's Millwall when it was all about having our backs against the wall and fighting it out against better resourced clubs like Leeds, Southampton and Norwich City and coming out on top through sheer determination.
But I couldn't accept the timid way we started to approach home games in the Championship, after Jackett started waffling on about ‘punching above our weight’.
This negative propaganda, although true on some levels, started to infect the whole club, with our once partisan home supporters starting to accept defeats to football giants like Birmingham City and Watford as somehow part and parcel of supporting the Lions.
Do you hear that? That's our forefathers turning in their graves.
The worst example of this newly adopted safety first approach at home was the no show against a very ordinary Crystal Palace side in our last home game of last season.
The team should have been sent out to get the home crowd going under the Den lights against our local rivals in a bid to save ourselves in front of our own fans, but what followed was dull football by numbers.
I just cannot imagine Lomas doing the same in similar circumstances, given what I've seen this season.
That doesn't mean I think he's a better manager than Jackett, but I do prefer his approach when I'm paying good money and investing my time in supporting the club.
Some of my fellow fans are worried Lomas will take us down, but I've seen enough to put my head above the parapet and claim boldly he will keep us up.
This is because his worst weakness is in some ways his greatest strength - this side has goals in them and while Lomas' naivety will cost us points and we won't seriously bother the top eight, his gung-ho style will see us nick enough points to steer clear of danger.
The players are certainly buying into what the manager wants to achieve, as we've doubled QPR's goals against column in one game, no easy feat.
And who knows, it might be quite fun? Saturday certainly was and if we lose 4-3 to Reading on Saturday, well, so what?
You can't expect us to win there, that would mean punching above our weight.
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