Mark's interview after Gillingham defeat
Rovers manager Mark McGhee saw his side ship four goals at Gillingham today and will have them in to train tomorrow morning and Monday ahead of Tuesday’s game against Plymouth.
Immediately after the game he had this to say; “We lost a goal early on, from a penalty, and were fortunate not to lose a man as well.
“The second ball in behind caught us out and then a long throw saw the ball end up in the back of the net again for their second goal.
“That gave us an impossible task against a team that’s riding high in the league and playing with a lot of confidence, so I don’t know how much deeper we can look than those first few minutes of the game and wonder why we made the start we did.
Beyond that I was looking at them and looking at us and making comparisons. We finished the game with nine young players on the pitch and that looks too much. Gillingham had experience in their team, something we didn’t have enough of. That’s a worry and why we need the likes of Garry Kenneth, Danny Woodards and one or two others back to bolster us.
“We also need to look at the whole picture and wonder if, at this stage, I am putting too much faith in so many of the young players.”
Two of his more experienced players, Matt Gill and Matt Harrold, had to come off through injury today.
“Matt Gill has been carrying a knee injury and I felt the game was lost when I took him off, thus saving him for Tuesday’s game at Plymouth.
“It’s difficult to say how serious the injury to Matt Harrold is, and we will have to assess it again tomorrow but we are very worried about it.
“The great thing is, and I really think it’s important for us, is that we aren’t one of these sides that will undergo agonising training sessions where you wonder what more can be done because the players do work hard in training and I don’t think they can work any harder and the fact that we have a game on Tuesday is great.”
The manager’s immediate problem is to stop his side conceding soft goals.
“We are giving away too many soft goals, but you have to remember that we brought in Cian Bolger and Garry Kenneth for that very reason and we need one of those two back quickly. If either of them had been playing today they would probably have won the header from the long throw that led to their second goal.
“However we didn’t have anyone with that height against the strength of their centre forward to go and win the ball.”
While he seems unlikely to bring in another defender on loan, he didn’t rule out the possibility of a loan signing to bolster his squad.
“I don’t think we will necessarily go into the loan market to bridge that gap because Garry is only a week away and the intention is to have him available next Saturday. However I think that some of the younger players need some help and first and foremost that’s what I need to address.”
He didn’t think his players lost heart.
“I didn’t think that heads went down even after those first two goals. For the third goal Michael Smith let the boy get a run in on him and he did lose headers all day long. And he and the other young players have to be more aggressive in their play. I’ve spoken to Michael about it and he knows he’s going to have to play better than he did today.
The manager was slow in coming out for his press conference, having spoken to his players at length about the manner of their defeat.
“You have to be careful because a lot of the responsibility lies with me. Yes, we have lost Cian and Garry and we are without Danny Woodards, but I have faith in this group of players but at the moment too many of them out there have been caught short. However it is my decision to put them out there and it would be wrong of me to lay into them without factoring in my part of the equation.
“Yes, I have had a word with some of the players about certain aspects of their game but it was a bit like men against boys today.”