Gary Rowett raved about substitute Tyler Burey after Millwall came from two goals down to beat 10-man Coventry 3-2 at The Den.
Millwall looked lost inside the opening 30 minutes after Kyle McFadzean and Matt Godden gave the visitors a shock 2-0 lead.
But Rowett’s team roared back to level through captain Jake Cooper and George Honeyman before Gustavo Hamer was sent off for a second yellow.
Substitute George Saville’s low curling effort five minutes from time completed the turnaround, but it was 21-year-old Burey, introduced after 12 minutes following an injury to Mason Bennett, who Rowett singled out for praise.
Rowett said: “I thought young Tyler Burey was outstanding when he came on and he was our best player by a million miles.
“With a change of formation, I think he feels it’s difficult for him to show his best quality. But I think today proves how he could do it.
“He’s got real talent. He just gave us a spark when we looked like we needed something.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve noticed he’s a lot more focused. Since his contract’s been sorted he really seems desperate now to kick on.”
Rowett also hailed his side’s character but acknowledged the opening period of the game exposed some worrying flaws.
He added: “I thought it was a great spectacle for anyone who was a neutral, but for me it was bloody awful. I can’t even remember the heat.
“I was too busy being disappointed with lots of aspects and then elated with other aspects.
“We’re never going to be a team who’s going to control a game with beautiful possession, but we’ve got grit, we’ve got aggression and we’ve got determination.
“For the first two goals we’ve got to defend better than that. It certainly wasn’t something I anticipated. We looked edgy, we looked nervous.”
He also confirmed Bennett will be out for an extended period with a hamstring injury ahead of two challenging away fixtures at Swansea and Norwich next week.
Meanwhile, Coventry boss Mark Robins was left ruing individual mistakes after Simon Moore’s error let Millwall back into the game and Hamer’s needless cynical foul saw the visitors reduced to 10 men in the second half.
He said: “We let them back into the game. Simon knows he shouldn’t come for it. He can just catch it on his line, similarly to the game up at Sunderland.
“It just got the crowd up and we were a little bit fortunate coming in 2-1.
“The two bookings are avoidable and he’s definitely let us down, there’s no two ways about it. It cost us the game today.
“It’s been a tight game but it shouldn’t have been a tight game. We should’ve seen it out.”
Coventry’s game against Wigan on Tuesday has been postponed, with the pitch at the Coventry Building Society Arena still deemed unplayable after the rigours of the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens tournament.
And Robins did not hold back in his assessment of the situation, calling for action to be taken urgently.
He said: “They’ve got to come together and sort it out. It can’t go on. It’s ridiculous. People saying, ‘It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault’. We need a football pitch.
“It’s the stadium that was built for us and we can’t play there. It’s an utter disgrace that we’re at this point in time.”
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