Published: 21:00, 20 October 2020
| Updated: 09:12, 21 October 2020
Gillingham assistant manager Paul Raynor saw improvements in the team’s performance on Tuesday night but said naive defending was their undoing.
The Gills management wanted a response from a 2-0 weekend defeat against MK Dons and even thought they lost by the same scoreline to Portsmouth at Priestfield, Raynor was happier with what they served up.
Raynor said: “We said we would improve on the performance from Saturday and we have done that. Really, we were unfortunate not to get a little bit out of the game.
“We were a little disappointed but I think there were some positives. They weren’t really any positives to take from MK Dons, but (on Tuesday night) there were some positives in defeat.”
Gillingham had plenty to do after conceding twice early on.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb,” Raynor said. “We started brightly, we asked the boys to be brave, to get on the ball and cause Portsmouth problems.
“We were disappointed with our lack of possession on Saturday. We wanted the players to get on the ball in midfield and we started very brightly. We moved the ball well and huffed and puffed, tried to get into the opposition half and then we have conceded two very poor goals.
"The disappointing thing is that we have not got anything out of the last two games and we have defended a bit naively.
"We changed it (switching the two centre-halves from the weekend) to give ourselves a bit more aggression in the central pairing but it was more the naivety of the defending. They were aggressive and they tried but I think the two goals were really poor. You can't give a player of the quality of John Marquis that amount of time on the edge of the box. Our strikers didn’t get that room in the box. That is the difference.
"They have a very expensive striker that can go and put the ball in the bottom corner but you need to have the space to do that. We should have stopped the shot and then we concede a silly second one from our own free-kick, we get caught on the break.
"We're 2-0 down having started the game really well. We seemed confident in possession, but then we get caught by two sucker punches and are 2-0 down against a very good team, which makes it very difficult.
“Second half we tweaked a few things and played very well.
"On another day we could have nicked something out of the game but for all of our efforts in the second it wasn’t to be but you have to give credit to Kenny (Jackett, the Portsmouth manager), he sets his teams up very well, they are hard to break down. They are very well organised and it wasn’t to be on the night.”