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Clemence | "I thought the lads were fantastic"

Gills boss delighted with his players following the 1-0 win over Sutton at Priestfield.

30 December 2023


Clemence | "I thought the lads were fantastic"

Gills boss delighted with his players following the 1-0 win over Sutton at Priestfield.

30 December 2023

Stephen Clemence praised his side following a superb performance against Sutton to earn a 1-0 win.

Gills boss Stephen Clemence was delighted with how his side controlled the game in the 1-0 win over Sutton at Priestfield.

It took a wonderful Scott Malone volley midway through the second half to break the deadlock, but Gills had their visitors under constant pressure throughout.

Sutton were reduced to ten men in the 26th minute after Harry Smith’s red card challenge on Max Ehmer. Clemence was pleased with how his side dealt with the ten men of Sutton, knowing that it could cause a greater issue to break down the opposition.

The Head Coach was satisfied with the performance of the three centre-halves too, who earned a clean sheet. That comes following a tactical decision that saw the Gills move to a back five, something the 45-year-old is keen to build upon.

Oli Hawkins made his first start of the season, which left the boss delighted for the forward who was unlucky not to score.

With the quick turnaround to New Year's Day with the visit to Colchester United, Clemence is expecting a tough trip against a team that will offer a completely different challenge in comparison to Sutton.


The performance…

I thought we were fantastic when they had 11 men. We had enough chances today to win three football matches. It is very difficult to play against ten men. I have done it myself as a player. I experienced it a lot as a coach, and we see it a lot on TV when it almost becomes harder. As I said, I thought we dominated against 11, but it could have become difficult against 10. I thought the lads were fantastic.


On the clean sheet and change of shape…

A clean sheet is lovely. Obviously, I have to touch on the three central defenders because I thought they were excellent again today, and the goalkeeper. We have changed our system in the last couple of games, and I have been pleased with what I have seen. We are playing with three defenders at the back, but we are creating a lot more chances, and it maybe suits us a bit better, so we will keep trying to develop that.


Oli Hawkins’ performance…

He was fantastic. He was unlucky not to score. I think that the goalkeeper made one hell of a save. He seemed to twist in the air to turn it away, so I don’t know how it did not go in, so fair play to the goalkeeper. He obviously gives you that presence.

I brought him on four games ago against Bradford, and I felt that we just lumped it up the pitch towards him, and that is not something that I want to be a part of. I want to play the ball forward, but it has to go through with quality. Oli is good enough and a good enough player that if you put the ball in towards his chest or you give it to his feet, he can bring people in.

His work rate was exceptional as well tonight. When Oli is in the team, that is how we have got to use him. Well done to Oli. He has been out for a long time. It has been very frustrating for him.


Looking ahead to Colchester United…

Matty Etherington is there, who was my old teammate at Spurs, so it will be good to see him. I have seen Colchester a couple of times live this year, and they play good football. It will be a completely different game from what Sutton has given us, so we will be in tomorrow and get prepared to take on Colchester in what I am sure will be a difficult game away from home. But if we bring that game, we will be okay.

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