One look at the Southampton team on Tuesday night gave Gillingham the belief they could beat their higher-league opponents - and they did so in style.
The Championship visitors changed their starting XI completely from the one that had looked so good in their season opener days earlier at Sheffield Wednesday.
Gillingham’s management team and players had sat watching Southampton’s game on Friday in their team hotel ahead of the game against Stockport. It had left them in awe.
But when the Saints boss Russell Martin decided it was all-change for the Carabao Cup, it was a massive relief to the Gills.
Manager Neil Harris said: “They had a great win on Friday night and I thought they were marvellous against Sheffield Wednesday, that made us extremely nervous for the game, but they made the changes.
“I understand why, and then I thought, ‘come on, we have a chance now, we can affect the game’ and I think the lads took some heart from the teamsheet and felt there were areas of the pitch we could exploit.”
Not surprisingly, the Saints didn’t include the likes of Romeo Lavia, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Tella on Tuesday night. Sam Edozie was an unused sub and Carlos Alcaraz was introduced off the bench but it was definitely a weakened team.
It was still a side that massively under-performed in front of a big away following.
Southampton reached the Semi-Final of the competition last season and Harris said: “They were still a top side but it couldn’t have gone any better, let’s be honest.
“The cup competitions aren’t the priority but it doesnt mean I don’t want to win.
“No disrespect, but I didn’t play Josh Chambers or Joe Gbode, and (I didn’t play) 18-19 year-olds because I wanted to play senior players, I wanted to be competitive, I wanted 8,000 people to appreciate what we are doing.
“It will be the same in the next round, whoever we play, and the same in the EFL Trophy and FA Cup.
“I will make changes, the priority is the league and trying to get into that top seven all season, but being competitive is key and that is my job as Gillingham manager, and also the fact that I don’t like losing games of football.”