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Grimsby Town 2 Gillingham 0: Match highlights and reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris after League 2 defeat

Saturday’s loss was “a major disappointment” for Gillingham boss Neil Harris who admitted his team weren’t competitive enough.

The Gills conceded twice in the first half-hour against Grimsby and then never looked like getting back into the match which finished 2-0 to the home side.

Neil Harris Gillingham v Millwall pre-season, second half Picture: Keith Gillard
Neil Harris Gillingham v Millwall pre-season, second half Picture: Keith Gillard

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Harris’ side have gone from winning their first four league games 1-0 to losing 3-0 against Colchester and 2-0 at Grimsby on successive weekends. This was their worst showing this season by some distance.

“It was the worst by a mile,” admitted the manager. “We may lack in certain qualities but there is no excuse for lacking heart, character, or personality.

“You haven’t got to be a fighter to be aggressive, you just have to compete on the football pitch. The difference in the two teams was that they won first contacts and second balls and they were better in both boxes, that’s the bottom line of it.

“I can’t be any more disappointed, not just the scoreline, but the manner of the performance.

“A lot of people travelled from Gillingham to support us and our performance didn’t merit that, it didn’t merit their support, the money they’ve paid and we put in a performance like that.

“The scoreline seems relatively close at 2-0 and there wasn’t loads in it but what we didn't do was the basics of League 2 football, and that is set-plays, transitions and damn right competing, and that is where we fell short.

“It’s not something I have been used to as a manager, maybe in the first half of last season a little bit, but that is not where we want to be as a football club now.

“It is a major disappointment and I didn’t see it coming, that is five goals we have conceded, really poor ones, in two halves of football.

“I’m angry. When in the heat of the moment you can have choice words with the group, and aggressive words, but when I am really calm and quiet, that’s when I am upset with the group.

“I’ve not raised my voice with them, it is not needed. I have said some home truths and we have to respond accordingly because the players that I have picked haven’t performed and I am disappointed, disappointed for the staff, the players, the fans that travelled and the club because that’s not a performance we want to be associated with.

“I was quite amazed. We passed the ball off the pitch, we looked a bit in between passing the ball, playing it long. Did we compete well enough? No. We didn’t compete well enough on set-plays, that’s in both boxes, we didn’t get enough first contacts, we conceded from a set-play again, same players made the same mistakes. It is very League 2 at times but doesn’t mean I have to accept it.

“I fully accept that performance isn’t good enough and fully accept criticism on behalf of the players, and that we didn’t perform well enough. My task is to make sure we are better than that.”

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