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Michael Gilkes On Lacking Quality In The Final Third In Millwall Defeat

The Royals had plenty of time to unpick a stubborn Millwall defence, but couldn’t manage it.

Nottingham Forest v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Millwall were the visitors to the Select Car Leasing Stadium and they continued their good form by picking up a 1-0 win against the Royals. Former Reading defender Jake Cooper secured the points for The Lions to put Reading just five points ahead of Derby County after their victory against Barnsley.

There was lots of frustration after the game with fans feeling that substitutions should have been made a lot earlier to try and get us back into the game. Michael Gilkes took on the media responsibility and admitted that we didn’t do enough to open Millwall up. Here is what he had to say, he spoke to the official club website and Berkshire Live.

Gilkes on the defeat

“We lacked that bit of quality in the final third. We struggled to break them down in the crucial part which is in front of their goal.

“One of their strengths is set pieces. They had seven opportunities today and six of them came from set pieces. They had one shot which led to the corner which led to the goal. They are extremely good at what they do. And they’re a good team, defensively they are a very consistent in what they do.

“And they caused us some problems in the first 20 minutes, but we dealt with it well. And then we concede at the wrong time.

“In the second half we dictated the game. But in those crucial areas we just didn’t have what we needed to break their lines and score a goal. That little bit of detail in the last third, we didn’t have enough to open them up. Opportunities we did have, we didn’t take advantage of. It just didn’t go right for us today.

“We’re very disappointed today. There wasn’t much in the game at all. But we’re at home and we’d expect to get at least a point, if not all three. But we will move forward.”

Gilkes on the fight for survival

“We’ve got 11 games left, there are lots of points to play for and we’ve got our destiny in our own hands. That is what we’re focusing on.

“This is a situation we’d rather not be in – you want your stadium full and to be winning games every week. But we’re not there at the moment. It’s our job to make sure that improves.

“We’ve got another free week so we’ll be working very, very hard, trying to improve certain things in certain areas… and then we’ve got three tough games in seven days.

“We need to stop conceding, score goals and win games. It’s that simple. There is no other remedy for it.

“And we need to accumulate as many points as possible. We’ve got a job to do and we’re going to do whatever it takes to stay in this league.”

Gilkes on the lack of quality in the final third

“It just didn’t go right for us. Sometimes, the opportunities we had, we didn’t take advantage of and I’m sure there will be games coming up where we will.

“It didn’t go for us but the performance was very good. We didn’t have enough to open them up. Defensively they are very good and very consistent at what they do.”

Gilkes on whether they regret not bringing Meite on earlier

“When the result doesn’t go for you, then yes that is the obvious thing to say. With hindsight, you can look back on it and we can do that over the next couple of days and see what we can improve on.”

Gilkes on having Dann back

“It’s a major boost. We’re very pleased. He is very experienced and is going to be a major help to the group, as is everybody else.”

Gilkes on Ince’s absence post-match

“We’re a team, it’s me, Paul, Alex Rae and Mikele Leigertwood. We’re all together in this and we’ll do whatever it takes to stay in this league.”

Gilkes on the problem with set pieces

“When the ball doesn’t go in the net everyone talks about it and when it does, you get punished for it like we did.

“Millwall are a good team. They’re not just about set-plays and they caused us a few problems. In the first 20 minutes, we dealt with it well, conceded at the wrong time but then we went from strength to strength.

“We came out in the second half, dictated the game but in those crucial moments, we couldn’t break the lines.”

Gilkes on Meite’s fitness

“He is getting back to fitness and he’s ready to play. The reality is, when you don’t get the result, people will ask why didn’t you do this or that? I understand that, no problem. We made the decisions at the time we did and didn’t get the goal, basically.”