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Interviews

Gaffer at the Weekend

Steve Evans reflects on the 3-1 win over Ipswich.

7 March 2021

The Gillingham manager delivers his usual Sunday round-up.

Q: What specifically pleased you about yesterday's performance?
 
A1: The lads performances have been very good in most of the minutes played in the last few weeks but yesterday, like Portsmouth and MK Dons, it was for longer and more thorough.
 
We mixed our play up many times over, adopted a different formation three times in the match and the lads delivered the plan in each of them.
 
It’s important we continue to be humble, work hard and prepare for each match as it comes.
 
 
Q: You have said consistency is key in the last few weeks. Is that the most complete 90 minute display we've seen this season?
 
A2: In spells of that match we made a very good team in Ipswich Town look very ordinary, but maybe they had a bad day, that measurement needs to be taken over a longer period.
 
Our group, led by an inspirational young Captain Kyle Dempsey, are really fit and fresh going into a vital part of the season.
 
Every day I work with these lads it really is refreshing, lads wanting to learn and improve.
 
 
Q: I know you have a lot of respect for Paul Cook. Was it the type of game you expected?
 
A3: Cooky is a cheeky chap I have known and done battle with many times over the years.
 
A gifted manager who, as I said, will improve those Ipswich Town players and I am convinced he will lead a great club back to The Championship.
 
We enjoyed a socially distant beer after the match and he was certainly hurting but he was very complimentary about our performance and deployed tactics, especially as he knows the resources we operate within.
 
 
Q: The organisation and defensive shape must have pleased you. We didn't give much away?
 
A4: Without a doubt but, in fairness, the lads have been working so hard at on the training ground.
 
The communication is getting better and the desire to defend is improving rapidly.
 
I said a few weeks ago that young Jack Tucker was back to his best and he demonstrated that further yesterday with a top class performance against a top class striker in James Norwood. He was superbly assisted by Robbie Cundy, another youngster now improving with each game.
 
 
Q: Jack Tucker got his first league goal. How pleased are you for him?
 
A5: As I said before he is back at his best. He is one of our own, that is what the supporters would be singing if they were with us.
 
It’s staggering to realise when I arrived he was set to be released from the club, but thankfully that was not allowed to happen.
 
He needs to continue to listen, learn and implement, a promising career lays ahead if he does.
 
 
Q: Vadaine Oliver scored two excellent goals. He's a man in terrific form right now?
 
A6: Vadaine has been brilliant in recent weeks.
 
I have a particularly strong relationship with him as I know how much he wants to be successful.
 
Again he is a lad who continues to learn, he works so hard every day and he is one of a growing number who leads by example.
 
He has so much to his game and his goals are a reward for the work and determination.
 
 
Q: Kyle Dempsey has got a great engine in the midfield. Has the return of Stuart given him a little bit more freedom?
 
A7: Kyle Dempsey has everything in his game, energy, strength, passion, technique and pace. He is without doubt, for me, the best central midfield player in League 1 and he is showing it most weeks.
 
Stuart O’Keefe has been the unsung hero beside him. Full of energy, incredibly fit, has great ability and without doubt one of the best professional footballers I have ever worked with.
 
 
Q: It's Fleetwood on Tuesday. How important is it to take advantage of this positive momentum and ensure we carry on where we left off on Saturday?
 
A8: Fleetwood are in great form under Simon Grayson.
 
They won easily at Shrewsbury yesterday and easily at Lincoln last week, so that clearly shows the size of our task.
 
Full of top players assembled at a big cost will, as I said, be tough for us but we must continue to focus on ourselves and that means being fully prepared as an individual and a team.
 
 
Q: How beneficial has it been to be able to name a similar XI for last few games?
 
A9: The lads know here that I pick the team on merit.
 
I simply have no time for picking players because you favour one over the over.
 
As a manger I love honesty in a player, does he live and prepare properly, does he listen, take instruction and work hard? Then there is his individual game, something he was born to produce!
 

We must all continue to work hard, we represent a superb football club and the county of Kent, that in itself should be enough to give all you have.


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