Wise urges his lions to play with pride against Hungarian champions

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The Independent Online

The build-up to Millwall's first ever European campaign has not exactly gone to plan, with the Lions losing 2-0 to Ipswich Town on Sunday and having Barry Hayles ruled out with a rib injury into the bargain.

The build-up to Millwall's first ever European campaign has not exactly gone to plan, with the Lions losing 2-0 to Ipswich Town on Sunday and having Barry Hayles ruled out with a rib injury into the bargain.

However, that result at least gives Dennis Wise's team something in common with their opposition at The Den tonight, as Ferencvaros also lost at the weekend. That, though, is where the similarities end, as the side from Budapest are the reigning Hungarian champions and wrapped up the Double this summer by winning the Cup.

But Wise, the player-manager for nine months, refuses to be cowed by the side who started off in the Champions' League before dropping into the Uefa Cup when they lost a qualifier. Encouraging his players to get forward, he said: "When we are at home we are a lot better team than when we are away, we get after teams and that is what I want them to do - have a go at them."

Wise will not go for all-out attack, however, preferring to bide his time over two legs. He added: "It's very important not to concede away goals. If you are going to draw, draw it 0-0."

The defender Kevin Muscat is also confident that some of his younger team-mates, such as the striker Barry Cogan and goalkeeper Graham Stack, can help pull off a famous victory. "Inexperienced players can freeze, but there is the reverse side as well - people go into the unknown and perform," said the Australian international.

The size of Millwall's task is emphasised by the fact that Ferencvaros have dominated their league since the collapse of Communism. They also have tradition on their side, having won the 1965 Fairs Cup against Juventus and reaching the Cup-Winners' Cup final 10 years later.

By contrast, Millwall's defeat in the FA Cup final in May against Manchester United was the club's proudest moment and Wise wants his players to keep improving. "We want to enjoy ourselves," he said. "You want to play in different countries, to see how people play and the different systems. That would be good for the club and the players."

Wise has watched the Hungarians and been impressed by a side whose main threat comes from the striker Robert Vagner. "They play three at the back, two really wide, one sitting in midfield and two up front," Wise said. "They rotate well and are well organised."

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