Samuel | "It's a kick in the teeth"

Dominic Samuel says the squad must pick themselves up quickly and respond in the right manner following cup defeat at home to Exeter.

A disappointed Dominic Samuel said the dressing room was gutted after Gillingham were eliminated from the FA Cup by an impressive League Two Exeter City side on Saturday, but insists it is now time to refresh and refocus ahead of a busy schedule, starting with a midweek trip to Bristol Rovers.

The striker spoke to the media after the 3-2 loss, saying: “It is a kick in the teeth, especially after how hard we have worked in the last few games. We played our best for the first 20 minutes and then I feel like after that we let our foot off the gas. The score speaks for itself. If we were the better side we would have got a better result.

“In the cup, the teams above us are just as dangerous as the teams below us. We weren’t as focused as we usually are and it showed.

“At half-time the coaching staff got into us and told us that is not how we play. We should look at ourselves in the mirror and say ‘that is not how we play.’ We showed who we are in the second-half, but it wasn’t enough.”

Gillingham, unbeaten in their previous three league games, continue with their packed programme, which includes eight games over December, with a match roughly coming every three days. Samuel, who scored in the Exeter cup defeat, stressed the importance of concentrating on the future in a bid to climb the table and is expecting a response on Wednesday against Bristol Rovers.

Samuel said: “Football is relentless and you can’t keep dwelling on the past. You have to keep looking forward and moving forward.

“The games are coming thick and fast. We are in a good position in the league. We just need to put this behind us, there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to focus on Wednesday.

“We need to stay confident and stay true to what we believe in. With the team we have got, despite the result at the weekend, we have a great dressing room and I know we can bounce back.

“With the amount of games coming up from now until January, it makes it a busy period. We can’t keep dwelling on the past. We have got good enough players to turn things around. We need to start again on Monday at training and go into the game on Wednesday fresh. Bristol Rovers have a few decent players but we need to do what we are good at and focus on ourselves.

“Everyone wants to get to the play-offs. Everyone knows we are a good enough team. There are still a lot of games to be played.”