After missing out on the play-offs by just one point in agonising fashion, Millwall will be desperate to go one step further and give themselves a chance of promotion next season.

The Lions were so close to finishing in the play-offs this season, but a heartbreaking defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Monday (May 8), dropped them into eighth position.

Millwall were ahead at half time, with two goals from Duncan Watmore and one from Oliver Burke.

However, a second half comeback led by Ben Brereton Diaz, inspired the Rovers to a 4-3 victory that saw neither side qualify for the play-offs, and Sunderland qualify instead.

Despite the loss, there are a lot of positives the Lions can take from this season. The duo of Zian Flemming and Tom Bradshaw combined for 32 goals this season, the second most goals scored by two players from the same team, behind Chuba Akpom and Cameron Archer for Middlesbrough.

This is Millwall’s highest finish in the league since 2020, and joint highest finish since their promotion to the league.

With the right preparations, the Lions could be among the play-off positions next year.

So, what do the Lions need to finally finish in the play-offs, and give themselves a shot at promotion?


Another Goal Scorer


Millwall consistently finish the season with around 50 goals scored, even when they finished 21st in the 2018/19 season, the Lions scored 48. When they finished 10 places higher two years on, they scored one less.

This year, Millwall didn’t struggle for goals, as they equalled the best tally they’ve accumulated since their return to the league in 2017. The problem for Millwall is that over 50% of their goals were scored by Flemming and Bradshaw.

There is a huge reliance on the strike partnership to perform for the Lions, and if they don’t perform, or even get injured, there isn’t enough goals in the rest of the squad to be able to cover for that loss.

Out of the 36 teams that have finished in the top six of the Championship since Millwall’s promotion to the competition, only two of those teams have finished with 57 goals or less. One of these teams was Luton Town this season, and the other being Swansea City three years ago.

Millwall need another goalscorer, whether that’s a winger who can turn the partnership of Bradshaw and Flemming into a trio, or an attack minded midfielder who can provide goals from deep.

Currently, Millwall’s top scorer behind Flemming and Bradshaw is Watmore with eight goals, and two of those came on the final day.



A Creator


At the end of the season, Millwall’s highest assister was Andreas Voglsammer, with five. But in the Championship, there were 32 players above him.

From those teams that finished in the play-offs, they all have at least one player with six assists or more, with Sunderland having three players with more assists than the Lions' top assister.

In fact, Millwall’s entire squad achieved 30 assists between them this year, whereas Jack Clarke, Patrick Roberts and Alex Pritchard of Sunderland, combined for 24 on their own, six away from Millwall’s squad tally.

And it isn’t for the sake of missed chances. According to, Millwall only created 48 big chances this season, which ranks them 18th of the 24 teams in the competition.

Similarly, Millwall rank ninth in the league for big chances missed, and although they’d want to be lower down the table in that figure, it isn’t the reason they missed out on the play-offs.

The Lions would really benefit from a natural creator for next season, and then they may finally break the 60 goal mark on the way to finishing in the play-off places.


A Midfielder


For a team that pushing for the play-off places, the Lions averaged the sixth lowest possession in the entire league, according to

That stat ranks them lower than Wigan, who were relegated.

The stats show that the Lions could really benefit from a ball-playing midfielder, who can help the team keep the ball, and break the lines in midfield, to provide for the attackers.

Perhaps this could be in the form of a holding midfielder, similar to the styles of Rodri or Jorginho in the Premier League. Or it could be in the form of a box-to-box midfielder, or a midfielder with a greater focus on attacking, to help the side create and keep the ball.

A player similar to the calibre of Charlie Patino could be attainable for Millwall, with the youngster leaving Blackpool after his loan spell with the club ended, and rumoured to be leaving Arsenal in the hunt for first team football.

Either way, the Lions averaged just over 238 passes per game, which is lower than 17 other teams in the league, and five of the top six teams all finished with more passes per match than Millwall.

The stats show that the Lions could really benefit from a midfielder who excels when playing with the ball, and it could help to keep pressure on opponents.

Millwall finished the season with the most accurate crosses per match in the league, with 5.8, and a midfielder that can help the Lions cycle possession could help them inflate that figure even higher, to increase the supply to Bradshaw and Flemming.