Steve Evans: I know how Jurgen Klopp feels over fixture congestion

Posted Sunday, December 06, 2020 by PA

Steve Evans: I know how Jurgen Klopp feels over fixture congestion

Gillingham boss Steve Evans said he felt like Jurgen Klopp after negotiating a hectic fixture list to lead his side to victory over Swindon at Priestfield.

Goals either side of half-time from Vadaine Oliver and Trae Coyle secured a 2-0 victory for the Gills.

Evans’ side have now won four of their last five league games, following a quick turnaround which had the manager empathising with his Liverpool counterpart.

“I was really concerned at the start of the game as we felt like a European side here today,” Evans said.

“We played on Wednesday night, the coach got back from Bristol Rovers at 3am and then we played again with an early kick-off (1pm) today.

“I felt like how Jurgen [Klopp] felt when Liverpool had to go to Brighton the other week. We looked lacklustre for the first 15 minutes and we had to grind our way into it.”

Evans’ side survived a couple of early scares, with Tyler Smith’s low drive deflected wide before Anthony Grant blazed over from six yards inside the opening two minutes.

The visitors also hit the bar twice in the first period following Oliver’s 17th-minute opener and put pressure on after the break before Coyle made the game safe late on.

“We got the first goal against the run of play but what a finish it was,” Evans said.

“In the second half they had a bit of the ball but we remained solid. They had a couple of headers in the box but I don’t remember ever thinking ‘that’s a big miss’.

“It’s a good win. We’re not the best side in League One but we can work as hard as any side in League One. Our players will have learned a lot today.”

John Sheridan was at a loss to explain the result following a performance he was satisfied with, but the Swindon boss criticised a ‘naivety’ in his side’s defending.

“I thought we played really well so I’m a bit shocked that I’ve got to come out and try to explain how we’ve lost 2-0,” he said.

“The scoreline does not reflect the performance. I’m very happy with the way we went about our game and quite possibly we should have been two or three up in the first half.

“But if I’m looking at the goals, they’ve come from our own naivety and players not being aware of when to deal with the situation. Our goalkeeper has had nothing to do all game and their two goals were totally against the run of play.

“We’re not in the Premier League, we’re not Real Madrid, so we will make mistakes. We’ve made two poor decisions today and they’ve both ended up in goals. I’m gutted we’ve not come away with anything.”


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