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Millwall star: An Aston Villa defender was ‘begging’ me not to score

Millwall's Danny Shittu (right) scores his team's opening goal. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire Millwall's Danny Shittu (right) scores his team's opening goal. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Saturday, January 26, 2013
12:00 PM

Millwall defender Danny Shittu revealed that an Aston Villa defender was ‘begging’ him not to score during the Lions’ 2-1 FA Cup win last night.

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The Nigeria international cancelled out Darren Bent’s opener when he headed home Liam Feeney’s corner midway through the first-half before the south Londoners claimed a famous win through John Marquis’ 89th minute strike.

The goal was Shittu’s first for the Lions and he was delighted that manager Kenny Jackett, in looking to expose the Villans’ fragility from set-pieces, allowed him to go forward for every corner.

“We had to work hard and we’re happy to have got the win today,” he said.

“It’s about time I scored. It’s the first time that the manager has told me to go up for every set piece because I’m usually back on the half-way line.

“It’s nice to be up there again. I’m delighted to have got a goal today.

“I was surprised because most of their guys were small.

“The guy they put on me looked really worried. He was begging me in the second half to try not to score a goal. We’re very happy with the way we played.”

Shittu turned down the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations and he felt that his decision was vindicated by his strike.

“It makes up for it,” he admitted. “I watched Nigeria before I came here today and was disappointed they only drew. I’m still supporting them.

“My good friend Clarke Carlisle is doing the commentary and he called me up before the first Nigeria game asking me how to pronounce all the names and stuff like that. It was nice to be able to watch it.

“Me playing tonight, us winning and me scoring helps me in knowing I’ve made the right decision. I’m 100 per cent happy with the decision I made to stay.”

The 31-year-old is prepared to take on anyone at The Den and believes that even Manchester United and Manchester City would find it difficult to visit south London.

“I don’t mind who we have as long as we have them at The Den,” he said.

“I think that whatever team comes to The Den will find it really hard.

“I found it hard to come and play here [Shittu was sent off when he returned with QPR in 2011].

“These fans do get on other teams backs. We have a really good chance of getting through [to the quarter finals].”

Shittu was always confident that his side could beat the Villans and was involved in a comedy moment when Charles N’Zogbia illegally tried to muscle him off the ball, but the forward was promptly dispatched by the defender.

“I’ve heard quite a few things that happened during the game,” he said.

“This is just when you’re enjoying playing for a club and enjoying defending. We’re happy as a team to have done it as a Premier League side.

“We knew they’d be a bit vulnerable. I was disappointed with the bottle throwing but they were there for us tonight and that was good to see.

“I know our fans can be passionate but it shouldn’t go that far [five bottles were thrown at the linesman]. I tried to calm it down as well.

“We don’t need things like that as a club. Let’s just try and calm it down. We need them to help us but there’s a level that we need as team.”

Shittu has had a long career, helping QPR to the Championship title and has played at the highest level.

But the win over the Villans is now ranked alongside these successes.

“It ranks up there,” he said. “It ranks up there to when me playing for a Premier League side playing against a Premier League team.

“We all had to prove ourselves. It was great for John Marquis to have a start. I had to prove myself when I went up for corners. He had to prove himself as well.

“He did it really well because he was there holding the ball up for us. He got his goal and we’re really happy about that.”

Shittu also admitted that he was disappointed by Aston Villa and felt that Championship sides have given them a harder time.

“We expected more,” he admitted. “They’re a Premier League side.

“They did well but they gave us time to play. We don’t get much time in the Championship. We had to work really hard and it wasn’t easy.”

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