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Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on Saturday's Emirates FA Cup tie against Sunderland.

10 November 2019


Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on Saturday's Emirates FA Cup tie against Sunderland.

10 November 2019

Gills boss answers a few questions following Saturday's 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Q: You said prior to yesterday's game that, at the very least, you would take a replay if offered. We managed that but do you still feel we perhaps should have won it?

A1: There is no doubt we should have won the game based on an outstanding second half performance.

However, it's a Cup tie that is simply at half time and there, again, we still have to face an outstanding team in Sunderland.

Q: Would you say that, away from home, the second half was as good as we've been in any game this season?

A2: We have had many excellent performances away from home but given the quality of opposition and the fact we were losing at half time speaks volumes for how well we had to play to be so dominant after half time.

I can say now the replay will be more than difficult but we have matches before then that will take all our focus.

Q: We created lots of good openings and forced some fine saves from their keeper. Was that encouraging, knowing we had made so many opportunities against a very good side?

A3: Yes, the quality of our play was a joy to watch but you always want that to be matched by the taking of the good chances we created. Our passing was crisp, our movement at times was exceptional and we delivered the key ingredient of hard work.

It should not be forgotten that Sunderland missed a few too so it will be a tough replay.

Q: A few words for the fans. Many would have been up and on the road at 4am yesterday. That shows very special commitment and the lads put in a real shift to reward their dedication?

A4: Our fans have been exceptional all season. I am a Manager who never forgets the sacrifice of time and the cost of following the lads so a big Thank You to all of them.

Q: It's Spurs in the Leasing.Com Trophy on Tuesday. With Lincoln at the weekend can we assume there will be several changes to the side?

A5: Yes, there will be many changes and the team will be made up of lads needing some match minutes and younger players that the Youth coaches think deserve the opportunity.

Q: Tommy O'Connor will be unavailable for both games as he heads out with Ireland's U21 squad. I'm sure you'll be disappointed not to have him, but pleased for him at the same time?

A6: Young Tommy is developing nicely. He still has a long way to go but his International recognition is down to his performances.

He conducts himself properly, smiles every day, prepares properly and trains with such enthusiasm.

The lad travels with all our best wishes and we look forward to watching how he does.

Q: Just finally, the second round FA Cup draw is on Monday night. Although we are in the hat we are not yet through. Was your message to the players not to let their efforts go to waste at the Stadium of Light and to get the job done in the replay?

A7: The replay will take care of itself but let me say we are going to play in that to earn the right to be in the next round.

We will all watch with interest what the draw brings, but that is as far as it goes.

My main priority this week is being ready to face a talented Lincoln City team at MEMS Priestfield Stadium next Saturday. They got themselves a very credible draw away at Ipswich Town yesterday so that spells out how tough next Saturday will be.

Including yesterday we have just played five of our last seven matches away from home so it will be good to be at Priestfield and backed by a brilliant support.

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