New managers often have a galvanising effect on even the most troubled team and Bryan Robson is shrewd enough to realise there will have been an element of that behind his winning return to the profession at Valley Parade, even if Bradford did not quite follow the conventional script.
Two goals behind after 24 minutes, it seemed they would merely underline the shortcomings that had led them to be bottom-but-one in the First Division and without a win in 12.
Only then did they stir themselves to raise their game in the time-honoured fashion and Robson was not about to pretend that all was well.
"The fact is that we were poor in the first half but it told me about the weaknesses we have to work on," he said. "It is going to be a tough job to stay up but if we can put in the kind of effort we did in the second half we will have a chance."
The jury is still out on the former England captain as a manager, even though he guided Middlesbrough to promotion twice and led them out in three cup finals. Being forced to step aside for Terry Venables in his final days on Teesside has left him with something to prove.
However, he seems to have a talent for making players perform, in this instance Danny Cadamarteri and Michael Branch. The former, without a start this season, had been, in his own words, "desperate to play" despite needing six stitches in an eye wound earlier in the week. The latter, with two goals in his last five games, felt a place should have been his on merit.
Both started on the bench. When they appeared in the second half, however, they changed the game.
It was Cadamarteri's goal seven minutes into the second half that launched Bradford's revival, Andy Gray delivering a similar strike to level the score. And when Cadamarteri went off 11 minutes from time, hobbling from a kick on the calf, along came Branch to clinch victory in stoppage time. "Michael was very disappointed not to start the game but I told him it was his attitude that was important. When he did get his chance he showed the right response," Robson said.
Dennis Wise, meanwhile, was bemused. Having watched his players dominate the first half, Tim Cahill and Nick Chadwick capping fine performances with a goal each, Millwall's player-manager could not believe how easily they capitulated in the second. "There were positives to take from the first half," Wise said. "But we made three basic defensive mistakes in the second. I think some of the players thought the game was won and you cannot allow yourself to be complacent like that."
Goals: Cahill (19) 0-1; Chadwick (24) 0-2; Cada-marteri (52) 1-2; Gray (69) 2-2; Branch (90) 3-2.
Bradford City (4-4-2): Combe; Francis, Gavin, Atherton, Heckingbottom; Summerbee, Kearney, Farrelly, Muirhead (Cadamarteri, h-t; Branch, 79); Windass, Gray. Substitutes not used: Davies (gk), Bower, Emanuel.
Millwall (4-4-2): Warner; Muscat, Ward, Lawrence, Ryan (Nethercott, 12); Sweeney, Roberts (Braniff, 74), Livermore, Fofana; Cahill (Wise, 89), Chadwick. Substitutes not used: Gueret (gk), Elliott.
Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).
Bookings: Bradford: Francis. Millwall: Fofana.
Man of the match: Cadamarteri.
Attendance: 10,107.Reuse content