Published: 18:00, 05 October 2019
| Updated: 19:01, 05 October 2019
Steve Evans got the reaction he was hoping for on Saturday.
The Gills boss apologised to the fans after conceding three first half goals that left them down and out at Oxford.
They improved after the break that day and performed much better against Southend United, earning a 3-1 win.
He said: “We asked the players for a reaction in the week and they’ve worked incredibly hard.
“It was important we started right.
“We took 500 or so fans to Oxford and we let them down. We let them down with the first-half there.
“We did something about it as a management team, the players are the people who had to carry it out.
“The players deserve all of the credit, not me, not the staff, they had the reaction.
“We started both halves right, finished both halves right as well. Second half it was nice to see when the third went in, the boys had a little more belief.
“Gary Waddock (the Southend caretaker boss) said to me at the end it could have been eight or nine, he is right, but we know how tough it is.”
Evans felt it could have easily been more than 3-1.
He said: “The disappointing aspect in the game is that at half time I am walking off the pitch wondering why is it not four or five nil, but it’s 1-0 and you have to deal with it.
“We got the second goal and we were totally in command, there were no threats, then we gave a silly goal away, it was a poor one to concede.
“They have a little five minute spell where they are sticking it onto two big strikers and we are thinking we just need to see this little passage out. We did that and then got the third goal.”
Prior to that the Gills missed two penalties, both taken by Mikael Ndjoli.
Evans said: “He’s 20 but the nice thing about him was that even though after missing the second one, he didn’t get down.
“He was giving Southend United problems all afternoon and he showed his class, especially post his second penalty miss, he was sensational.
“His pace, his direct running, his link-up play, you saw the reception he got at the end.”