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Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on Saturday's win at The Valley.

14 February 2021


Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on Saturday's win at The Valley.

14 February 2021

The Gillingham manager answers a few questions following the 3-2 win over Charlton at The Valley.

Q: Charlton are always difficult opponents, particularly at The Valley. Winning the game must have been satisfying but what aspects of the performance pleased you most?

A1: The quality of our play at times was excellent. We looked a real threat all afternoon and there is no doubt the lads who play wear the shirt with pride and give us everything. Let me say it is the minimum our supporters are entitled to get.


Q: Taking the lead so early obviously helps and it was a terrific finish from Ollie?

A2: It was a superb finish from a top class player. When he picked up the ball in that position I really did expect him to score because he has that in his locker every day he plays football. Ollie was very effective for the team out of possession and that is such a great asset on top of being so technically gifted.


Q: The game was finely poised at 1-1 and then a wonderful strike from Connor Ogilvie puts us ahead. A sensational goal?

A3: There is no problem for me if Connor gets the goal of the season award today, it was that good.

The lad has been back to his best in recent weeks and his confidence is sky high.


Q: What formed the basis of your half time team talk? Did you basically ask for more of the same?

A4: The team talk was relaxed, I believed we would win if we kept our discipline and worked to the game plan we had prepared in training.

I asked the lads to believe in what we had, respect the Valley and its heritage but have no fear, only positivity.


Q: They scored fairly early in the second half. As the manager how are you feeling at that point because the momentum swung with over 35mins still to play?

A5: Any time you go to Charlton you will have periods in the game when you have to regroup, get into the planned team structure and get ready for your next assault, the lads did that brilliantly.


Q: Chuks Aneke was sent off for two bookable offences. Did you change the shape immediately or in that situation do you wait for the ten men to commit to a new system?

A6: I have been told of some of the rubbish that has been said on the sending off. Let me say now, I love big Chuks and he is a top class player but he the referee had no option but to red card him after a late silly challenge minutes after getting a yellow.

Those speaking after the match, looking for reasons why they get beat, perhaps should have been looking for reasons to stop us after we changed the team shape shortly before we got our winner, that tactical switch and brilliant play from a class player like Kyle Dempsey won us the match.


Q: He produced an excellent goal just seconds after Ollie had hit the bar?

A7: As soon as we made the tactical change we simply took over and dominated. I must admit to being surprised our opponents did nothing to combat it, but that is not my problem.

Ollie had a great strike and it was waves of attack, and the pressure paid off.


Q: We've had a lot of good performances this season. Would you put yesterday's above Rochdale and Accrington?

A8: The lads have produced some great performances, and the ones said are great, but for different reasons.

We have a small squad, a talented group, and lads that enjoy working hard.

My job is to lead them to the battlefield, they are the lads who win!


Q: No Jordan Graham or Callum Slattery in the squad. Can you give us any more details regarding their respective injuries?

A9: Neither injury is very serious at all but Tuesday may be too early. Both will certainly be given every chance to be fit, two lads at the top of their game at present so it would be nice to have them with us.


Q: It's Peterborough on Tuesday. A similar performance will surely give us a chance? What type of game are you expecting?

A10: Posh are a quality outfit, a good manager with an outstanding squad of players.

Chairman Darragh MacAnthony gives his managers every tool they ask for and that is why they were the biggest spenders in the transfer market last summer.

Good players in every position and mostly an equal back up if they go out injured or lose form, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us.

We will train and prepare a plan like we did for Charlton, execute that effectively gives us the chance but, like Lincoln, they are a top top team.

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