Assistant Manager taking positives from Tuesday's game against Portsmouth.
Gills assistant manager Paul Raynor was disappointed with the defeat against Portsmouth on Tuesday, but said the improved performance showed real signs of encouragement.
Gillingham were undone by a couple of moments of quality from a talented Pompey squad, with former Gills loanee John Marquis and Michael Jacobs firing the away team into a 2-0 lead after only 17 minutes.
Raynor, reflecting on his sides’ loss, said: “It is tough. With a young squad, they are going to have to learn very quickly but there were positive signs. We were really disappointed on Saturday (against MK Dons), but there were lots of positives Tuesday, particularly in the second half.
“We said we would improve on the performance from Saturday and we have done that. Really, we were unfortunate not to get a little bit more out of the game.
“For the first 10-15 minutes we were sitting there thinking, ‘that’s better, we are getting on the ball and making things happen.’ We seemed confident in possession and then we got hit with two sucker punches and suddenly we are 2-0 down against a very good team, which makes it very difficult.
“It took us up to half time to regroup. Territorially we put them under pressure. There were balls flashing across the box. Their keeper has made a couple of good saves. The deliveries from Jordan Graham were exceptionally good. Tom O’Connor did exceptionally too, he put some great crosses in from the left hand side as well. Josh Eccles showed some real quality. We were pleased with the second half performance, but it was a 90 minute game and we started naively.”
Raynor was pleased with the chances his side created against a team expected to be challenging for the title and believes if they had found the net, it could have changed the complexion of the game.
He said: “Second half we tweaked a few things and played very well. We went with more attacking potency and if we had got a goal we could have made it a bit interesting late on.
"On another day we could have nicked something out of the game but for all of our efforts in the second it wasn’t to be, but you have to give credit to Kenny Jackett (Portsmouth’s manager). He sets his teams up very well, they are hard to break down. They are very well organised and it wasn’t to be on the night.”
Raynor has called on his young players to use the defeat as a learning curve and backs himself and manager Steve Evans to get their new-look squad firing again soon. The assistant manager is also confident there will be further improvement when they take on Fleetwood at MEMS Priestfield Stadium this weekend.
He said: “We’ve got some character in these young boys and if they keep showing this kind of spirit we will be ok.
“Last year we dropped on a system after about eight or nine games and it worked for us. We will find a system that works and personnel that works. That is our job to do and we will go and do it. We will reassess it. We have already done it in the dressing room. We spoke to the guys about how we can improve at the weekend. We will do it. We will find a way and we will keep trying different things.
“We have said this is probably the hardest League One that there has been for a long, long time. When you look at the quality of the teams like Portsmouth, Hull, Sunderland and Ipswich, the list goes on.
“We are experienced. We’ll find a way a way of winning, we always do. Our young side are learning on the job. We’ve learnt a little more in this match and we will now get ready for Fleetwood on Saturday.”