Millwall should have been in front against Aston Villa, says boss Neil Harris, as he praised his players’ performance following their defeat at Villa Park.

Goalkeeper David Martin produced one of his finest performances this season, despite Jonathan Kodjia putting Villa ahead with just his second league goal of 2019.

Jed Wallace tested the hosts’ shot stopper from range before the Lions twice went close from set-pieces in grabbing an equaliser.

Harris admits his substitutes didn’t have the desired effect but still lauded his players for how they performed.

“We grew into the game,” he said. “I thought Villa started the game, as you'd expect with nine wins in a row as a top side, on the front foot and were better than us but we grew in confidence and started moving the ball well and got into some really good areas.”

“The save by the 'keeper [Jed Steer] from Jed Wallace's shot, and then we had the follow-up with the corner, we should score. We had it off the line, we should do better than that.

“We should have been in front and the goal we conceded was disappointing at the time, because of the timing of the goal, but also of the manner of the goal.”

Villa capitalised on Millwall’s loss of possession before a swift attacking move saw Anwar El Ghazi tee up Kodjia for the finish on 30 minutes.

The hosts were comfortably ahead for most of the game, and could have doubled their lead when Ryan Leonard’s errant pass sent Kodjia through on goal.

However, it was Martin’s brilliant stop, alongside a string of superb saves, which prevented the promotion chasers getting a second or third on the afternoon.

“It was our throw-in,” Harris added, speaking about the goal Millwall conceded. “We didn't win the first contact, the second ball or the third ball and, for us, as a club, that's not good enough.

“Villa do what they do very well - they pick the right passes, make the right runs and got the end product.

“No complaints with the scoreline today.

“The goalkeeper [David Martin] has kept us in the game in the last five minutes, I thought some of his saves were outstanding, but huge credit to my players for the way they attacked the game in the pressure situation that we're under and we certainly look forward to two huge home games now.”

Millwall, who are three points above Rotherham United, who are in 22nd, now play both Stoke City and Bristol City at home before travelling to play Wigan Athletic on the last day of the season.