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Harris on Portsmouth defeat

Gills boss reflects on the defeat to Portsmouth at ME7.

18 July 2022

Post-match thoughts from the manager.

Gills boss Neil Harris was left frustrated at how his side ended the pre-season friendly against Portsmouth.

Connor Ogilvie scored a free header in the dying seconds as the visitors came away from the MEMS Priestfield Stadium with a 2-1 win.

That came after Gills had worked hard to get back into the game as they scored directly from Olly Lee’s corner kick after Reeco Hackett had scored in the first half for Pompey.

 

Thoughts on the friendly…

My first assessment is that we’ve lost a game of football with the last kick of the game. It’s not acceptable. We talk about pre-season as minutes, and we talk about how results are irrelevant, and they are to a certain degree, but players have to learn quickly that you have to do the right things in football. If you don’t do the right things, then they’re never going to play in my football team.

Portsmouth were really good with the ball at times, but I thought our shape was excellent. We limited them to very few touches inside our penalty area and very few opportunities even though they dominated large parts of the game with the football, but we had the better chances throughout the game. I’m disappointed with the first goal in the sense of every goal we’ve conceded in pre-season has been our own doing.

 

The health of the squad…

What have we learnt from today as a group? First and foremost, we looked fit and healthy. No one has come through with any injuries, and Max Ehmer should train on Monday, which is a positive for us. We should have a fully fit squad come Monday, and that’s the main thing.

 

Crystal Palace on Tuesday…

What a brilliant game. Palace are bringing a senior group of players with some youngsters that haven’t travelled to Australia. Obviously, a group has gone to Australia that are senior and young, and a group has stayed behind. We will welcome them Tuesday, and they’ll be as good as we’ve seen at this ground for years. What a test for us.

I don’t know the individuals that will come, but I know it’s a strong group coming, and it’ll be a real test for us. It will be a real physical test for us, but that’s what we want. We want to come up and get what we need out of each individual fixture, and with Palace; win, lose or draw, we’re going to get what we need from the game for sure.

 

The three new signings…

I’m absolutely delighted. Cheye [Alexander] and Greeny have been with us for a little bit of time, for different reasons, and both have done brilliantly. We saw their qualities today and what they bring to the group. Mikael has been here before during a turbulent spell of COVID and excelled. Everyone was disappointed that he wasn’t here longer, so we brought him back and look forward to working with him.

 

The transfer strategy ahead…

You can only have a certain amount of loans in the matchday squad, so we need to find permanent signings as well. It’s getting the balance between how many loans you have, and I’m not one to take more loans than you can use because you end up leaving players out, and that’s not fair. You can have five loans in the matchday 18, so we won’t exceed that. We need to get permanent signings as well.

We’re delighted to have the three in, but what we showed today is that we still lack a few more and probably lack a couple that are going to come straight into the starting XI. That’s my job to get them over the line.


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