Gills boss gives an honest assessment following AFC Wimbledon defeat.
Gillingham Manager Steve Lovell was critical of his players as he spoke to the press after his side slipped to a 1-0 defeat against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon at the Medway Priestfield Stadium.
A well-taken goal from Joe Pigott settled the game early on in the second half after he round Tomas Holy and slotted home. The Gills struggled to get into the game and put the Dons defence under consistent pressure in a combative game.
Luke O’Neill had the best effort of the game for Gillingham with a curling free-kick in injury time that was pushed to safety by the Wimbledon goalkeeper.
Lovell was not happy at all with the level of performance from his players throughout the game and will be demanding a response however he did also praise his defence, including man of the match Barry Fuller, for handling a physical Wombles front-line.
“I’m embarrassed for those supporters out there because that’s not a Steve Lovell football team," he said. "We hardly created anything bar a couple of balls at the end that fizzed across goal.
“I thought the back four did very well today, they kept us in the game – their front two and wide boys were a handful. Some of the younger boys have to look at Barry Fuller and the way he wants to win and wants to perform.
“I’ve been at this club a long, long time. I love this club and I support this club – I’m on the same mental plane as those supporters. I just hope that the players will realise, because I know it’s only seven games of the season gone, but I don’t want to get in a fight early on.
“I’ll go in Monday, I’ll raise them and I’ll tell them some home truths – we’re too good to be down fighting for things that we shouldn’t be fighting for.”
Although the Gills’ next game comes next week away at Rochdale, Lovell said many players would be fighting for their place on Tuesday night at Welling as he ponders changes to get the most from his squad.
“The only positive is we have another game next week.
“They have got to get that performance out of their system, and the only way to do that is to play. They have got to try and find a place for themselves and so the majority will play Tuesday night in the Kent Senior Cup.
“They have to have a look at themselves because I’m not happy and if I have to change the whole team next week then I will.”
Finally, Lovell provided an injury update with more players now starting to come back into contention to widen his options next week at Rochdale.
“Billy [Bingham] has a bit of a thigh strain so I think he’ll be a couple of weeks.
“Hopefully Dean Parrett will be back next week, Gabs [Zakuani] too, and Josh Parker will also be back from international duty.”