The Gills boss talks following the improved performance against Palace

Following the below average weekend performance against Millwall, Martin Allen was happy to see his squad give a positive response when Premier League Crystal Palace visited on Tuesday night.

The Gills boss said “All I wanted to see from our players was a little bit of a response I thought they were much sharper and much more tenacious.

“They [Palace] were very difficult to play against. They were intent on keeping possession, they created a few chances but both their goals were 25-30 yarder's and the other one was perhaps an error of judgment.

“It is difficult to play against that when they are keeping the ball and keeping possession and we played quite deep. In the second half we played much higher and I thought we kept the ball really well, which is a way of defending and stopping them getting at us and then some chances started opening up for us.

“But overall and most importantly I thought our players were sharp, the tenacity was back in their game and we played some great football, especially in the second half, and it was a joy to watch. I was enjoying watching it.

“They broke down the other end and their geezer hits a screamer in from 30 yards into the bottom corner with a one-touch finish, which is not easy to do.

“But importantly our players, I thought, played really well, the crowd got behind the players. You’ve got to come out fighting and I think we did that right the way through the team tonight.

“What we asked for was a good performance, training yesterday was short and sharp and pretty black and white, players had good input and the players have gone out tonight and put in a good performance, that’s all we can ask from them.

“We knew at times they would pop the ball about and keep possession but it was deep, we kept them away from our goal, it was an awful lot of running for our players but they worked hard and stuck at it and kept going right to the very end.”

After declining to praise any individuals, Martin continued “Crystal Palace are at a level that we have got to aspire to, what we have got to work to, and got to go towards, the long term vision of where we want to be. That’s what we’ve learned from tonight.

“We work hard, we try hard, we train hard. We are always learning and taking on board new ideas and new ways of playing. That’s the most important thing. Keep developing, keep improving and getting ourselves ready.”

Talk then turned to a possible starting XI for the season opener [against Colchester] which is now just days away, and the manager continued “I don’t think I’ve got a final line-up to be honest, I believe in all of them, all of our players in the squad can play, they work hard, they all train together, look after each other and work together. Everyone can go and play.”

When asked whether he was confident his team can meet the forthcoming challenge of League One, Martin replied “Who knows what League One is going to bring? All I know is that we’ll be ready and I know our supporters will be ready.

“We’ll train as hard as we can, we’ll work tactically, technically, as best we can, mentally they will be ready, don’t worry about that. Three games in a week we’ve got coming up, Colchester, Bristol City and then Wolves away – we will be ready for the action when it comes. I can do no more than that."

Smiling he added “I’m looking forward to it.”