Millwall captain puts defensive improvement down to collective team effort

News Shopper: Marvin Sordell beats Paul Robinson to a header. Picture by Edmund Boyden. Marvin Sordell beats Paul Robinson to a header. Picture by Edmund Boyden.

Skipper Paul Robinson believes Millwall’s new defensive resolve starts at the front of the pitch rather than just the back. 

The Lions remain the leakiest team in the Championship having already conceded 62 times this season, a dubious honour they share with basement side Barnsley.

However, there has been a noticeable improvement in those figures since Ian Holloway replaced Steve Lomas as evidenced by Saturday’s clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with relegation rivals Charlton.

And despite being a central defender, Robinson was eager to point out the improvement is actually a collective one as opposed to simply being down to the back four.

“The whole squad deserves a lot of credit,” the captain explained.

“We’re working really, really hard as a team on our shape, especially the front players because they’re working incredibly hard to keep the ball out of our net.

“We need to find an attacking edge going forward and then it will be the perfect balance.”

Saturday’s stalemate with the Addicks maintained Millwall’s three point cushion over their south-east London neighbours, although Charlton have played four less.

When asked if he would prefer to be in the SE7 outfit’s position, Robinson replied: “I don’t know about that. They may have games in hand but we’ve got more points than them.

“They’ve got a lot of games to play now in a short space of time and that pressure builds as each game drifts by.

“We were in exactly the same situation last season thinking we were OK because we had games in hand, but we didn’t win any of them and it caught up with us towards the end.

“It’s a difficult one. I’ll tell you at the end of the season which position I’d rather be in, but obviously we’ll be trying our hardest to stay in this division.”

Robinson did accept, though, that a point apiece on Saturday was probably the right outcome, even if it didn’t necessarily do either side too many favours in their respective battles against the drop.

The Lions skipper said: “We had a lot of pressure in the second half especially but we just couldn’t find that cutting edge at times.

“It was a very hard-fought and honest local derby and both teams were working incredibly hard to try and get the points.

“Maybe that resulted in the two teams cancelling each other out.

“We had some chances and some set pieces but we didn’t capitalise on those.

“As a defender I’ll take the clean sheet and be happy with that, and a draw was probably a fair result on the day.”

Robinson added: “It’s been a tough week and we would have liked one more win, but we’ve put a lot of hard work in and our performances are steadily improving.

“We’ve been competitive in almost all of our games under Ollie and things are very close and very tight.

“We’ve got to make sure over the last ten games that we edge more games than we lose.

“Our manager is brilliant at keeping things calm, relaxed and focused.

“We had the trip up to Blackpool on Tuesday night and were disappointed with that.

“But when the games come thick and fast there’s not much time to think about them.

“We’re aware of the situation and there was a really big effort to get the points but unfortunately we couldn't do so.”

And next up for the Lions this weekend is a trip north to take on traditional foes Leeds United.

Robinson is no stranger to encounters against the fallen Yorkshire giants and is looking forward to entering the Elland Road cauldron yet again.

He said: “We've had some good games with Leeds over the years and they're always feisty affairs, so I’m sure next week will be no different.

“We’ll be going up there having worked hard all week and looking forward to the challenge.”

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