Gary Rowett praised his Millwall players for picking up what turned out to be a huge three points against Stoke City.

The Lions completed a Championship double over the Potters to consolidate fifth place in the table ahead of a big week that sees them take on the two teams directly below them in the table, Luton Town and Norwich City.

Zian Flemming’s eleventh goal of the season sealed the three points.

“I felt like it was a tough game for us,” Rowett said. “Not having Burkey (Oliver Burke) available, and not having (Duncan) Watmore available. We knew we were missing numbers. We knew we would run out of energy. I think Sav (George Saville) has played with a groin injury, he probably shouldn’t, but he wanted out. It was one of those games where I thought it would be a difficult game.

“Stoke were coming off the back of their fine win at Swansea, I thought they would be up a bit.

“They moved the ball very well. They have made it difficult for us to leave. I didn’t think we played with enough quality to get out, but I felt that they made it difficult for us. It was an excellent goal that we scored. Sav wins a couple of challenges, takes a chance on Zian and we know he has the quality when you get past him. He has that quality on the edge of the box to be clinical, and it was a wonderful finish, just his instep and the curl of him to find the bottom corner.

“After that, I was probably frustrated for the first half.

“We couldn’t come out with the right energy, and at one point I turned to Robbo (Paul Robinson) and he said, ‘We’re going to have to push ourselves today. It’s one of those days.’

“After playing Sheffield United and Burnley it’s been a tough week but if one thing is for sure this team knows how to work, this team knows how to win games.

“Whether it’s ugly, in a good way, or in any way, that’s for other people to judge. But the three points were very important today and we had to work very hard to get them”.

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