12 August 2023

Neil Harris wants more of a cutting edge from Gillingham

12 August 2023

Neil Harris urged Gillingham to sharpen up in the final third despite a 1-0 win against Accrington.

Summer signing Ashley Nadesan scored his first league goal for the Gills, who have won their first three games of the new campaign – including Tuesday’s shock Carabao Cup win against Southampton.

However, they started slowly at Priestfield before Nadesan’s calm finish from Tom Nichols’ pass and failed to convert a number of second-half chances.

“It was the test we expected. Accrington ask a lot of questions of you physically, and I changed our team accordingly,” Harris said.

“I warned the group beforehand about a Lord Mayor’s Show after (the Southampton game on) Tuesday night, but clearly nobody listened.

“We were so slow out of the blocks and so reactive – it took me raising my voice on the sidelines for us to get going.

“After that we were excellent. There was only going to be one team winning the game. I’m happy with a lot of elements of our performance, but I need to see more quality in the final third.

“We have to be more clinical and ruthless. The lads have got to realise that. We cannot accept just winning 1-0. We’ll take the three points, but we should score three or four more goals.

“It’s been a great week, but that’s now gone. There’s more to come. It’s all about Sutton on Tuesday now.”

Accrington boss John Coleman agreed that Gillingham deserved to win by a greater margin.

Stanley won just four away games on their way to relegation last year and Coleman is desperate to find a cure to their troubles on the road, but admits they have plenty to learn first.

“I’m very disappointed with the way we played,” he said.

“I know it’s easy to say that, it’s easy to apologise to the fans and all those things, but they deserve better than that. We are better than that but we got exactly what we deserved.

“Today was a classic League Two game, against a team trying to turn you at every opportunity. We are normally very good at dealing with that. To lose the game to a very direct goal is a learning curve for us.

“Their goalkeeper hasn’t made a save, so as much as we’ve got to deal with the long balls better today, we also needed to attack better. I see us in training and we’re far better than that. We need to translate that onto the pitch.

“It can’t just be that we can only win at home. We had our troubles on the road last year. We’ve got to get back to being tough to beat, regardless of where we play.”

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