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Gillingham manager Steve Lovell warns underperforming players to step up to the plate or face the axe

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell has called on his players to take more responsibility after their relegation fears heightened at the weekend.

A 4-1 home defeat to Barnsley saw the Gills drop back into the League 1 relegation zone.

It’s the first time they’ve been in the bottom four since late September.

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell Picture: Andy Payton
Gillingham boss Steve Lovell Picture: Andy Payton

Lovell said: “They have got to take responsibility, that is the big thing. There were certain individuals out there (on Saturday) who I thought hadn’t played a game of football as a defender and they have to grow up.

“They might be young but they have got to grow up in terms of football. They have to grow into a man, this is a men’s game, something they have to take on themselves and be responsible for themselves.

“If they don’t they will find themselves out of football, that is the way the game is.

“You can’t be nice in football, when you are out there it has to mean everything to you. There were a few out there where it didn’t mean enough to them. I can’t do anything about them, that’s down to them.

“They either make it count and make it mean something or they don’t play. That is where my job comes in and I will do it.”

Lovell insisted the heavy defeat on Saturday was down to the players.

He said: “You can do everything you want in training and work on things but when they walk over that white line the players are on their own, they have to take responsibility.

“It’s not my fault. I am not taking the blame, I’m not out there, they are out there. We put in place what we have to and work on what we have got.

“When they go out on that field, the players have got to take responsibility. I haven’t conceded four goals, my players have. They are to blame, not me.”

Lovell continued: “They should be going out there and giving everything.

“If you are asking people to run because they are not running, asking people to tackle because they are not tackling, there is something wrong somewhere isn’t there?

“Those boys will find themselves out of the squad next week, they won’t be in it. They will know why because I have told them.”

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