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Gillingham 0 Fulham u21s 1 | Match reaction from Gills’ head coach Stephen Clemence

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence was looking at the bigger picture after their EFL Trophy midweek defeat.

A 1-0 loss to Fulham under-21s ends their involvement in the Trophy but he was pleased to see a number of players gain valuable match practice ahead of some tough league encounters.

Gillingham's first-team head coach Stephen Clemence saw his team lose 1-0 to Fulham on Tuesday night Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham's first-team head coach Stephen Clemence saw his team lose 1-0 to Fulham on Tuesday night Picture: @Julian_KPI

Report: Gillingham 0-1 Fulham

Tim Dieng – returning from injury – and Lewis Walker – back from loan – got plenty of minutes along with players looking to force their way into his starting XI, like Max Ehmer, George Lapslie, Max Clark and Tom Nichols.

Clemence made 10 changes from the team he picked to play at Hereford on the Saturday.

“I think we can play better than what we did,” he said, reacting to the 1-0 defeat.

“It was difficult though, we made 10 changes, we didn’t know the team until today (Tuesday) as we had a few issues inside the squad. I wanted to see everyone play as well.

“We’ve played some young players in the team who I haven’t even trained with yet and it was difficult.

“Hats off to Fulham, they have a good young side, they are flying high in the Premier League 2 with good technical players.

“I’m disappointed with the result but the positive is that we have got some minutes into some of the boys that needed it and that will stand them in good stead going into the league fixture at the weekend.

“I was apprehensive going into this game because we hadn’t done the work with the players, I didn’t get the opportunity to work on the training ground with the team because of the issues inside the squad, and who was going to play, who was fit.

“We decided to go with what we went with, we got vital minutes into the boys and that is the most important thing, that’s the best thing that has come out of the game.

“It was good to see Lewis, it is the first time I have seen him play, I have seen Tim in the past and George as well, he has had a few issues. Max came into central defence and so some good minutes for him as well, that was the main positive of the night that those players have come through unscathed.”

Clemence wouldn’t expand on the issues, only to say they were “one or two personal things going on.” Lapslie spoke to the press after the match and said he’d missed training due to the recent birth of his daughter.

Gillingham were beaten by a Fulham side capable of keeping the ball well, a different kind of challenge for his team.

The winner came shortly before the break when a cross from the right was touched in by Aaron Loupalu-Bi, getting between goalkeeper Glenn Morris and defender Ehmer.

Clemence said: “When you play Premier League under-21 teams, they are very possession-based, and sometimes it is different for players who aren’t used to playing against that.

“I know there are some possession-based teams in League 2 now as well, some very good ones, but it is not the normal style that they are always going to be up against, it was a good workout for the boys.

“They have had to runaround and try and get the ball back and Fulham are patient with it, but sometimes when you get beat you learn more and I definitely learned a bit.”

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