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Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler hopes Saturday's performance over Oxford United will have silenced a few critics

Gillingham v Oxford
Gillingham v Oxford

Tempers boil over as Lewis Montrose earns a red card Picture: Barry Goodwin

by Luke Cawdell

Manager Andy Hessenthaler believes Saturday’s performance was an "eye-opener" for the doubters.

The Gillingham boss saw his team grind out a win over Oxford despite having two men sent off.

It was the kind of display that he feels should have proved a point to some of the club’s own fans who have questioned the mentality of the squad he has assembled.

Hessenthaler said: "The players showed me they want to give everything for this football club.

"When I played here in the Championship, when we had the good times, every player gave everything for 90-plus minutes.

"That’s all I ask of them, and they did that. They have done that for the majority of the season and it’s the times when they don’t do it that they need to be told.

"We were terrific and we played with that siege mentality.

"Hopefully we have opened a few eyes at this football club, some of our own supporters, to show what spirit we have in this camp.

"I ask players to wear the shirt with pride and passion and all the stuff that goes with a game of football. I think every single one of the players did that.

"They are fighting for each other to make sure we get a result for the football club."

The 1-0 win lifted the Gills up to fifth in the table after winning four of their last six League 2 outings.

"I am really pleased for the boys and we have to keep going now," said the Gills manager.

"We’ve played 14 games and if we are in this position with 14 left then I would be delighted.

"I could go home and sleep easy because the players couldn’t have given me any more.

"They will come in Monday (today) and should have smiles on their faces and be looking forward to another battle at Swindon on Tuesday night."

Were you impressed by Gillingham's spirit on Saturday? Comment below.

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