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Gillingham 2 MK Dons 1: Reaction from interim manager Keith Millen after League 2 win at Priestfield

Interim Gillingham manager Keith Millen feared a hangover from the players after Neil Harris’ sacking but they came good after a slow start.

The Gills showed plenty of attacking threat in a 2-1 win over MK Dons but there was still a tense finish after a crucial chance from Connor Mahoney at 2-0 wasn’t taken. MK got one back and almost levelled.

Gillingham’s interim manager Keith Millen pleased with a win on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham’s interim manager Keith Millen pleased with a win on Saturday Picture: Barry Goodwin

More: Gillingham 2-1 MK Dons

“Firstly, I’m delighted to win the game,” said Millen, who was put in charge on a temporary basis on Thursday after Harris was axed.

“If Connor goes through and scores, or slides someone else in to make the third goal, I think it would have been a lot calmer in the last five or 10 minutes. We didn’t take that chance and luckily it didn’t come back to haunt us.

“Looking at the game I think it took us 20 minutes to clear our heads. It’s been a tough week, certainly a tough last couple of days. I was conscious of a little bit of a hangover.

“No matter what I said in the dressing room, there would be a little bit of a hangover all of a sudden, after 20 minutes, we became a little bit braver on the ball, found a few more passes, broke lines better then all of a sudden we were opening them up. We created some really good chances.

“First 20 minutes was nervy, then we had a 15-minute spell where we were a lot better on the ball, calmer, they pressed us high, which we thought they would, it was a case of us trying to break the lines. It was a matter of time before we punished them.

“We created a lot of chances, but they are a decent side, a good squad, they are a very good club and I knew it was going to be a tough game.

“I still want us to look after the ball better, after one day’s training we are not going to turn into a total-football passing team that’s for sure, but what I liked second half was our desire to keep the ball out of the net.

“I know they have scored from a cross but people were putting their bodies on the line.

“I am really pleased for the players because they have put a lot of hard work in and sometimes you don’t always get your just rewards and today they did.”

It was a tough week for the players, surprised as anyone at Harris’ sacking on Thursday.

Millen said: “I tried to be as positive as I could be in what we showed them, what we were about, we spoke about what we can control, that’s always a big thing for me.

“We weren’t in control of what happened in the week but there are a lot of things we are in control of on a match day and we actually wrote a list. I would have thought they ticked all the boxes. It was a happy ending to a tough week.”

Macaulay Bonne put the Gills infront in the first half and Scott Malone doubled the lead in the second. Mahoney was clean through with a chance to make it three but the keeper saved, when he had options to pass the ball on.

Despite MK coming back into it, the Gills took all three points.

“I knew they would give their all,” said the stand-in boss.

“I didn’t know how positive or whether they would feel sorry for themselves, that could happen, I have seen that before, where they could be a little bit down.

“I am not asking them to perform for me, I am not the new manager. When you get a new manager coming in you normally get a lift, because they want to impress. When you are interim it is a different conversation.

“It wasn’t about doing it for me and not about doing it for Neil. I didn’t think that was right, it wasn’t a case of ‘come on, let’s do it for Neil’, even though it was in our minds over what has happened.

“As a player, that wouldn’t necessarily inspire me to go and work hard on the pitch. The atmosphere was okay in the dressing room but I wasn’t quite sure until the game got going.”

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