The resumption of the season didn’t go to plan for Millwall at the Den, as a young Derby starlet taught the Lions a footballing lesson on only his second senior start.

Millwall lost ground on their play-off rivals as results elsewhere say plenty of them pick up points.

With games due to come thick and fast, here are five things we learned.

Sharp Learning Curve

It’s a new environment for everyone in football, with teams, coaches and officials getting used to playing in empty stadia, changing their usual routines, and regaining full fitness.

Millwall were clearly impacted by the unfamiliar settings, and it is something they will have to address as soon as possible.

Home advantage seems to have been ruled out, with the lack of crowds leading to only two Championship home wins this weekend. That could be costly to Millwall, with five of their nine games being played at the Den, their ever-reliable home form could be tested.

Another new regulation Millwall will have to learn from are the two scheduled drinks breaks. After even spells at the start of either half, Millwall lost their rhythm following the two pauses, conceding shortly after both.

If this is to be the norm, Rowett will demand that his players stay focusses. Switching off could cost Millwall their play-off push.

REPORT: Millwall 2 Derby County 3

Winning on Technicality

With no crowds and a lack of fitness, games are undoubtedly slower paced. Millwall usually thrive of the energy of the crowd and hit teams on the break.

As Rowett hinted, this new pace of game could suit those sides who are more suited to playing patiently, who recycle possession and build from the back.

Derby obviously made the most of their technical midfield, the close control and spatial awareness of Louie Sibley the difference.

Both Swansea and Brentford, two highly technical sides, won their openers, using possession well and punishing weaker sides. Bristol City and Nottingham Forest, known for their fast paced, counter attacking failed to win, despite the ‘away advantage’.

Perhaps Cardiff’s comfortable 2-0 win over Leeds on Sunday is a blueprint for coming up against possession-based sides. Millwall will need to find a way of playing to get back to form.

Build From The Back

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Hearts would have been in Millwall mouth’s when Shaun Hutchinson stayed down after a strong challenge on Martyn Waghorn.

The imperious captain has been back to his best this year and has been key to Millwall’s solid defence. His injury would have posed Rowett problems. With club-captain Alex Pearce also sidelined, he only had 18-year-old Hayden Muller as defensive cover.

Millwall only have three senior centre backs in their squad, and while Shaun Williams and Murray Wallace may be able to provide temporary cover, Rowett should be looking to strengthen his options in the summer.

Injuries could prove pivotal for this hectic nine-game ‘mini tournament’, Millwall could find themselves scrambling should they pick up a knock or two at the back.

READ: PLAYER RATINGS: Millwall 2 Derby County 3

Never Say Never

Despite a less than ideal start, Millwall’s play-off ambitions should not wain. Even though they have dropped down three places to 11th, they remain within three points of Preston, who retained sixth spot after their draw with Luton.

A win for Derby brings them level on points with the Lions, and into play-off contention.

There are only seven points between Forest in 5th and Derby in 12th, so all is still to play for. The Championship is notorious for its twists and turns. This season’s play-off race could prove to be one of the most dramatic and unpredictable yet.  

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i(Try To)Follow

COVID protocols have forced fans to stay away from their usual seats, forcing them to turn to the EFL’s iFollow service.

iFollow has never quite been a fan favourite, with dodgy streams and iffy commentary usually enough to put people off.

With the sharp increase in demand for the league’s premier viewing experience, iFollow was facing its biggest test.

Judging by the reaction on Twitter, it didn’t go all to well. Crashing web pages and inconsistent crowd noise didn’t make viewing easy for many. Let’s hope this week’s teething issues are resolved by next weekend.