Published: 00:00, 13 September 2018
| Updated: 06:52, 13 September 2018
It’s down to them now, says Gillingham boss Steve Lovell.
He left the Gills players in no doubt about his disappointment following last weekend’s defeat to AFC Wimbledon.
It was a performance that lacked punch and Lovell even threatened to play the kids this weekend, but it will be the senior pros back out there at Rochdale and who he is looking for a response from.
Speaking in the week, he said: “Monday in training was great, everyone trained as I thought they would do. They are a good bunch, they don’t mean not to play well.
“Sometimes individuals have off days and it happened last year, after our good run we had a bit of a spell, I left a few people out and they came back stronger. It might be a case of that happening Saturday. I have got to look at it but they have all trained brilliantly.”
Preparing right is one thing, getting a result is another and the Gills are five without a win in the league.
Lovell said: “They have to take control of their own decision making and things they have to do on the field, as responsible professional footballers. That is what annoyed me (last weekend), they didn’t do that, they didn’t play with their heads.
“They are good players, good lads, they understand the game of football. Last Saturday it looked as if they didn’t and that was disappointing. it wasn’t my team, not the way I set up and hopefully we can get back to that Saturday.”
Lovell publicly criticised his team, and individuals, after that Wimbledon performance and hopes the players respond the right way.
He said: “If they don’t they are going to miss out, not me. They are the ones who have to put it right. I am only being critical in constructive ways so that they get better, not because I don’t like someone.
“I have to let them know as professionals how I feel and what I think they need to do to make it right. Players know when they are having a good time or a bad time, they know, it hasn’t got to come from me. In our team they will know who is performing well and who isn’t.
“Week in, week out they have to analyse their own game and be honest with themselves.”