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Harris | "It is my job to keep pushing the team"

Gills boss says he wants more from his team as he looks to build on the positive momentum created in the first three games of the season.

14 August 2023


Harris | "It is my job to keep pushing the team"

Gills boss says he wants more from his team as he looks to build on the positive momentum created in the first three games of the season.

14 August 2023

Neil Harris says it is his job to keep demanding more of his players as the Gills look to build on current positive momentum.

Neil Harris was pleased that Gillingham beat Accrington Stanley in their opening home game of the season, but knows there is still plenty to work on.

Ashley Nadesan scored the only goal of the game, but Harris wants to see a more ruthless and clinical performance from his side.

The Gills manager is expecting another tough and physical matchup at Sutton on Tuesday, and he will continue to demand plenty as he hopes to build off the opening seven days of the new season.


Assessment of the game…

Accrington Stanley ask a lot of questions from you physically. They are a big side. I changed the team accordingly. I made five or six changes from the other night [against Southampton], and ultimately five lads started from the game the other night. I picked a fresh team. Only Robbie [McKenzie], Max [Ehmer] and Shad [Ogie] played 90 minutes.

We were so slow out of the blocks. We were reactive for the first eight minutes, and it took me to raise my voice on the sideline for us to get going. After that, I thought we were excellent.

I am happy with the scoreline, and I am happy with a lot of elements of the performance, but I need to see better quality in the final third from my team.


Demands of the squad…

As the manager, it is my job to get the best out of my changing room. I do not want anyone to think that I am not happy. I am delighted with the points, but it is my job to keep pushing the group, especially in the early stages of the season while we are fresh.

I want more. I do not want us to just settle for what we have seen. We are going to have to ramp it up consistently, and that is the same for Tuesday. We have got a massive game on Tuesday at Sutton.

We have got to keep on taking those strides forward. My clear motto to the players is a Monday morning mentality. They come in and are focused on the week ahead, and then it is winning the next game mentality. That starts now. That is about them living their lives properly away from the stadium, then making sure that they touch base with the staff tomorrow [Sunday] as a group and individually. Then on Monday morning, we are all, as a group, ready to attack Tuesday night.


Looking at the forward options…

Oli Hawkins does what it says on the tin, and he chips in with goals, plus he can play centre-half. Tom Nichols is as good of a link-up player as you are going to see in the lower leagues, and we saw it today. We saw great creative and hold-up play. He is a clever player. It is hard for Nico to keep going and going. Then you see what Nadders brings. He catches pigeons and sticks the ball in the net!

We have got to find enough goals in the team to get us around that top seven. What Macauley [Bonne] brings is the ability to stretch, to link, to compete physically and aerially, but he is a natural goal scorer.

We are delighted to bring him on board, but he is six weeks behind everybody else. He has had seven or eight training sessions with us, but that is because he is a long way behind. We have got to ramp him up at the right time, and he has got to get his head around that as well because he is desperate to play and contribute.


Looking ahead to Sutton…

They are going to be really good. They are so organised, disciplined, aggressive, and so big. We have to be every bit of what we were today, but from the first whistle, not from the 15th minute. Then we have to be clinical as well.

We have to make sure that we not only stand up to their physicality because they are a big physical side, but they can play as well. They handle the ball, and they make really good decisions. They ask a lot of questions from you from restarts, and we have to be the best we can be of ourselves to stand up to them.

We have to remember to play at the right moments as well.

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