Harris | “I see very good signs in the group” – News


The manager reacts after a spectacular late victory at Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Gills boss Neil Harris said he saw good signs from his squad after Tuesday’s 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon at Plow Lane.

Substitutes Mika Mandron and Jordan Green both scored within three minutes of each other in the closing stages of the Carabao Cup first-round tie, and the manager was delighted to see that a mentality of A clean sheet was maintained, while seizing opportunities to win the match at the other end.

Speaking after the match, he said: “I thought we deserved to win. It’s about finding ways to win games. I have to congratulate the goalkeeper, who I thought was excellent, and the bottom line to get a clean sheet.

“We changed shape, a bit off the cuff, leaning a bit on some experience from the team – we went through it on Monday and did some video work.

“I just felt it was a form we needed to look at, I thought it was a form that suited the players. Tranmere were playing 3-5-2 this weekend, like a lot of teams do in division, so that’s something we need to think about for the future.

“I thought we were good in the patches, I thought we looked slightly off in the patches, I thought we scored a really good goal, disallowed, and we should have a penalty, a clean cut, and Lewis Walker nine times out of ten puts that ball in the back of the net [first half chance].

“I’m thrilled for the guys who came in, they made an impact on the game, they were a game changer. Bringing Mika, Jordan and Ben Reeves is not a bad line to bring.

“We always try to add to the group because we feel we need options. We missed Stuey [O’Keefe] and Dom [Jefferies] tonight; in pre-season I didn’t get a chance to try a different form because we didn’t quite have the right squad or staff; tonight was important to watch a 3-5-2 form ahead of Tranmere on Saturday.

Mandron and Green proved to be super substitutes, both scoring in front of the traveling Gills supporters away and the boss was delighted to see them both finding the target.

He added: “Two great finishes, I’m thrilled for them. Scott missed on Saturday with the game winner and then two other attacking players missed, so I’m really happy.

“I want Mika to score goals and the composure tonight, the finish, both goals are quality goals.

“Jordan is a starving boy, he has a newborn, he took a good step towards the championship, then for some reason he fell out of professional football. As soon as he walked in, you could see in his eyes his hunger, the way he plays and presses. He’s an infectious character, he’s a game-changer at any point in any game because he has that shining spark.

“I also have to make sure I understand him well, he’s an athletic and quick player and we have to be a bit careful, manage at the right time. He’s going to be an important player for us.”

Alex MacDonald started his first game since October last year and played for just under an hour before breaking his way, and the manager was encouraged to see him complete those minutes, but knows patience will be needed as he progresses to full match fitness.

He said: “He’s almost made the hour so I’m delighted he has those minutes, yes of course he’s going to be a little rusty at times but he brings a real calm and experience to the group, and quality too. You will have to be patient with Macca.

“He’s a great senior player, a good head in the dressing room and popular among the group.

“I see good signs in the group, I see very good character and development in the senior players as well as the youngsters and I just feel like I need to have the right tactics, the right formation and the right team selection I think we have the ability to find ways to win football games.

“We have certainly made progress from the opening game here, but in this game there was nothing between the teams, we shot each other twice in the foot. Tonight we stayed in the game, kept the clean sheet mentality and then found the game winning moments.


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