Gary Rowett is confident that the reaction to George Evans being subbed on in Millwall’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United was purely because he did not make a more attacking change.
Sections of the Lions fanbase voiced their displeasure when the former Manchester City youngster replaced Mason Bennett after 15 minutes.
“I didn’t see the reaction against him – I saw it as a reaction of it being a midfielder instead of an attacking change,” said Millwall boss Rowett.
“Ultimately it paid off, because we kept a clean sheet.
“But at that point Sheffield United had three midfielders and two strikers against us – and you have to remember they are a very good side. It seems that formation is okay for them, with the recent run they’ve been on – losing one game in 15 – it certainly doesn’t seem to have affected their attacking qualities.
“I have to look at the game and see what is required. To put Zak [Lovelace] on at that stage would have been really, really difficult – having Zak, Tyler [Burey] and Jed [Wallace], who has played in three or four games in quick succession on the back of an injury. Benik [Afobe] wasn’t able to do that [after only just coming back from a hamstring problem] and Connor [Mahoney] hasn’t had many match minutes.
“It was a certain type of game where I felt we needed to get a bit of a grip in midfield. Evo has been the most active within our team, it seemed the most natural decision.”
Evans, signed from Derby County 13 months ago, has not started since the 1-0 defeat at Blackpool on January 22. He has made 40 league appearances, nine of those as a substitute.
“It’s hard when you haven’t played for a while but Evo came in and showed some really good bits,” said Rowett. “There is more to come from him. I don’t think we’ve seen quite what I see every day in training. Maybe the fact he’s had a bit of a sporadic season has made that difficult. He’s a player with real quality on the ball, we want him to show that.”