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Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans answers a few questions following the 2-1 win over Morecambe at Priestfield.

22 August 2021

The Gaffer carries out his usual Sunday Q & A.

Q: Saturday ticked a lot of boxes in terms of performance, result and season landmarks. What pleased you most?
A1: The performance in spells was excellent. We passed the ball around with real quality at times and we always looked likely to win after Muzzy Carayol scored with a rocket of a shot.
Kyle Dempsey was outstanding in the second period and our substitutes Danny Lloyd and Ollie Lee helped renew our energy levels at a key stage.
Young Dan Adshead did very well on his Gills debut and helped us win that vital midfield battle.
Q: Mustapha opened the scoring with a superb strike. You know him better than most. What attributes make him so suited to the team?
A2: I love the lad and he has all the ability in the world.
I focus on him working hard for the team and when he does that he is one of the best players in League 1.
He has two great feet, got great pace and can score a goal. There is no doubt our supporters will love him.
Q: The equalizer was a bit of a sucker punch. That natutrally gave them a lift but on the whole they didn't threaten us all that much?
A3: We committed three big mistakes in their goal and we need to be better with ball possession, sending forwards away from our goal and making basic saves, but on the other hand I thought Jamie Cumming was otherwise excellent as were the back four.
To see Ryan Jackson and Robbie McKenzie come through the full game was especially pleasing and both lads will have benefitted greatly.
Q: What was your message to the boys at the break?
A4: My message was a clear “well done." At times we had played our best football of the season and only a few mistakes had the game level.
I spoke of Jamie having a maturity, Max and Jack being strong, Kyle grabbing the game, and patience as we are trying to break through a decent team.
Kyle Dempsey was outstanding in the second period, he bossed the central area and it was a really controlled second half.
Q: We progressively took command of the game during the second half. The introduction of Danny Lloyd in particular seemed to give us a spark?
A5: As I said earlier, Danny Lloyd is infectious. His energy levels are incredible and you can already see what our supporters think of him.
I thought his quick feet in the penalty area that brought the penalty was great skill and the defender hacking him down gave big V the chance to win the match for us.
Q: Vadaine Oliver stepped up to take the penalty. He appeared very calm and composed; how pleased were you for him to net at the Rainham End?
A6: The big man was back very near his best yesterday.
He dominated in the air but this time he was picking our players out with great skill.
The reality is that the Morecambe lads couldn’t cope with him and that doesn’t happen to often to two big commanding central defenders.
Q: Robbie McKenzie filled in at left back. Wherever he plays he seems to do a very good job?
A7: Robbie is a top class player who every manager loves as he is certainly one who can play in multiple positions.
The lad gives everything he has and is a top professional.
Q: The atmosphere was electric; how much has everybody missed the roar of the crowd?
A8: The supporters yesterday were outstanding.
The atmosphere and noise from the Rainham End was awesome and I want to thank every one of them.
Yesterday we won on the pitch, and off it!
Q: We have Cheltenham at home on Tuesday. Would it be wrong to assume you will make as many changes as you can with the players available?
A9: As you know we have 15 senior players, so we will certainly make changes.
I have to prioritise next Saturday at Shrewsbury so, yes, some of our youths will be involved.
Q: Are you able to offer an update on injuries to Macca, John Akinde and Daniel Phillips?
A10: None of them will be available for Tuesday, they are injured.

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