Lovell | "You can't give teams a lift"

Gills fighting spirited praised by manager.

Steve Lovell said he was proud of his side’s second half performance on Saturday against Barnsley, but conceded it was always going to be difficult getting back into the game having gone 2-0 down at Oakwell.

A Kieffer Moore double gave the hosts a comfortable margin at the break, but Gills pulled a goal back just after the hour mark and progressively forced the Reds to defend deeper, and the visitors very nearly snatched a point at the death with Parker, Tom Eaves and Max Ehmer all coming close.

Following the match, which ended 2-1, Lovell said his side need to start better to avoid such situations in the future.

He added: “You can't give a team like Barnsley, or anybody, two goals and expect to come back. We knew they would cause us problems and they did.

“The first goal, the goalkeeper has to save it, and the second was a penalty from a short corner which we knew they would do.

“You can’t give teams a lift; after that we changed it up a bit, a few choice words were said at half-time, and I might have to buy Barnsley a new bin!

“To be fair they came out in the second half and did us proud. They fought for everything and we had a number of opportunities, perhaps, where we could have got something because they were giving us respect and taking their time because they knew they were in for a bit of a fight.

“We had too many touches, even when we won the ball we had too many touches, and when you do, someone will close you down. If you pass with one, two touch Football and pass around like they did you won’t get near them, and we didn’t in the first half.

“Our midfield players were too deep; marking space rather than players so our midfielders are protecting our centre halves when they don’t need protecting. Let our centre halves deal with their centre forwards and the midfielders just do their job and worry about theirs. When we came to terms with that in the second half we nicked the ball off them.”

Gills have taken seven points from their opening six games, three of which against all relegated Championship clubs and the manager was keen to point out that such games will benefit his young squad.

He added: “We’ve had a hard start to the season against some quality sides but as long as the players learn from every game we will be better for it. If players improve individually then we will get better collectively.

“It will take a bit of time, but you set yourself standards and you can’t drop below them, because if you let it happen I’m not doing my job.”