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Gillingham 2 Oxford United 7: Highlights and reaction from Gills caretaker boss Steve Lovell after heavy home defeat at Priestfield

Steve Lovell admitted the goals they conceded on Saturday were ridiculous.

The caretaker manager watched on as his inherited side conceded seven goals at Priestfield, the kind of result that hasn’t been witnessed at ME7 since a Gills outfit let in seven against Coventry City back in 1933.

“The first three goals it’s ridiculous,” said Lovell, after watching the team go 3-0 down inside 19 minutes.

“First one in particular is a soft one to give away off a counter-attack, the second is a penalty and the third is a free header in the box so you are three-nil down at the start of the game and it is an uphill struggle.

“Second half the boys had a go and within two minutes it’s a penalty but we got back into it, got a couple of goals and second half we were a lot better than we were first.

“The goals we gave away defensively were ridiculous but you can’t legislate for that, you have to keep working and keep going and we created chances in the second half, a lot more attempts at goal and scored two goals and that is the positives you take out of it, but apart from that there is nothing else.

“Oxford are a good side and if you are going to give them those goals you have no chance of winning a game.”

Charlie Kelman attempts to create an opening for Gillingham Picture: KPI
Charlie Kelman attempts to create an opening for Gillingham Picture: KPI

It’s been a tough gig for Lovell since taking over from Steve Evans.

He’s tried to alter the way they play and has made changes in personnel but their confidence is low. It’s now 17 games without a win in any competition, stretching over three months.

He said: “They are not terrible players but they have to work, they have to work harder, they have to put in the effort and they have to go and close people down quickly and we did that second half so why does it take 45 minutes for us to actually start doing that? We did it at Wigan. Why did it take 45 minutes at Wigan?

“You can’t give any teams starts like that and expect to get points out of the game. They have to learn from it and they will do.

“Second half they did, they got in people’s faces and put them under pressure. That is all we have been asking for all week.

“The situation is the situation, we have inherited a terrible situation in a position we were in, we have to try our hardest to raise the boys and their confidence. Three weeks we have been here and we have tried but we are not miracle workers, the damage has been done, we have to try and raise the boys as much as we can to get them out there.

“At half-time, after being 3-0 down, they went out and even after conceding an early penalty second half they kept going and all credit to them, I can’t ask for any more than that, but we can’t give the goals away like we did. They are ridiculous, the penalties are all our fault [the Gills conceded four penalties in the match] and we lose the game through it.”

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