Gaffer at the Weekend

The Gills boss delivers his usual Sunday round-up.

Q: Did Saturday's performance at Rochdale surprise even you, or did you feel such a display was coming?
A1: The performance certainly did not surprise me. The lads were particularly bright in training on Thursday and Friday plus it followed large parts of the second half against Accrington.
We all know our team is very young, particularly yesterday, but as I’ve always said, these lads can play.
Q: We made a bright start, the tempo was high and we pressed high. Do you think the inclusion of Robbie McKenzie further up the pitch presented Rochdale a problem they weren't expecting?
A2: I genuinely don’t know if that was what Rochdale expected or not, but we worked on a plan and it worked.
When we signed Robbie I said he could play in one of five or six positions, and I meant it!
The lad got a goal but in general play he was also outstanding defensively.
I have already a different role in mind for him in our next match. He is a brilliant professional and I rate him highly.
Q: Big John bagged the second, and it was a great finish?
A3: John played as he can do. When he plays like that he becomes such an asset compared to the opposite.
He got himself two goals and was unlucky not to be taking the match ball home but it was his mobility, strength, power and work rate that was most impressive, the goals are a bonus.
Q: Connor was credited with the third goal after getting a touch on Scott Robertson's shot. Did going three up make your half time chat a touch easier?
A4: It did indeed deflect off Connor but it is, and was, Scott Robertson’s goal.
I thought he was outstanding in everything he did alongside Josh Eccles who again was superb.
They are both so young and learning so much. Both will have good careers if they stay focused and work hard to improve!
Q: John's pen killed the game off. At 0-4 do you start relaxing in any way or were you determined the boys sustained their work rate?
A5: Not at all, the lads maintained the intensity all the way through and our performance deserved us to score a few more goals.
My Captain Kyle Dempsey was simply brilliant as was Alex MacDonald who stood up to my criticism from his last appearance with a performance that is louder than words, another reason why I love the kid.
Q: It was a touch frustrating to concede late on but, in general, do you feel the performance now sets the standard for the rest of the season?
A6: Yes it was disappointing to concede from a corner that shouldn’t have been given.
The referee is one of the better ones and it should be noted I marked him accordingly in a previous game we lost.
Q: Scott, Josh, Kyle and Macca were immense in midfield along with Robbie. Do you think the system you used is likely to be what you go with going forwards?
A7: We can use it but I have different thoughts for how we much approach our next match.
Q: No game on Boxing Day. I know you're disappointed but equally understanding of the circumstances. Will the next few days be all about recovery before you prep for Northampton?
A8: Any game postponed because of COVID is one we must all understand.
I am sick of watching people continually have no regard for the rules and staying safe, this virus will not go away until we follow the guidelines.
Q: As we approach Christmas how would you assess the season so far?
A9: Frustrating.
We have been decimated with injuries to key players but these lads have an inner resolve to keep going.
Yesterday again demonstrated we can be as good as anyone in League 1.

We must all continue to keep focused, get on the training ground and work hard.