Gillingham Ladies manager James Marrs pays tribute to club following 4-0 win at Coventry

Gillingham Ladies manager James Marrs took some time to reflect and praise the club’s development after another outstanding win against Coventry Ladies.

Gills demolished the former National Premier side with a ruthless opening half. Marrs said: “It was a good day’s work. It was a little bit more of a test in the second half but it’s difficult when you’re winning by a convincing score line at half time, it’s hard to keep that going.”

Gillingham refused to be complacent however and worked hard to ensure their three points and clean sheet were protected. “We knew that they’d come on top of us for the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half,” said Marrs, “and they were going to boom the ball into the channels, squeeze up and play in our half which is what we had done to them in the first.”

“From our point of view it was about seeing the game out and making sure we got the three points which we came for. I thought we did that really well.”

Gillingham’s reign at the top of the league prevails for a sixth week in a row as Gills demonstrated again against Coventry how their ruthless finishing and scoring record has propelled their success. Marrs told us: “We’re creating the same amount of chances as we did last season; the difference is we’re putting the ball into the back of the net and the girls are thinking about what they’re doing in front of goal.”

“To be a little bit critical we could have had seven today. We got what we came here for and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Marrs also revealed to us that his team’s storming first 45 minutes gave him the opportunity to reflect on how far his group of players have come since he took over as manager just over a year ago: I’m made up and can’t ask for any more. 4-0 up at half time, what is there to ask for? Coventry were a little bit flabbergasted I think, a little bit shell shocked because we challenged. The first half allowed me a chance to sit back and think how far the team has come and it’s really good to see.”

“We’ve had a couple of additions and a couple of changes and that’s all it has taken. The hard work came last year. Now we focus on our shape, the girls know what they’re doing in nearly enough every single situation so we don’t need to coach them through that.”

“It’s more getting on their case to work and keep them going until the end. There’s players who are absolutely knackered out there, who are still working hard, still making tackles for us in the 85th minute; that’s when you know you’ve got a good set up.”

Besides Gillingham Ladies rampant scoring record and clinical finishing, Marrs saluted the performance of his defence who equalled the club’s record of clean sheets in a season just six weeks into the season. “We’re keeping clean sheets, we’re hardly conceding and we’re missing our captain, who’s our centre half,” said Marrs. “I don’t need to praise them anymore really; the clean sheets do the talking. They’re working so hard.”

“In football you need to try and keep the same units working together if you can. The back four are playing there week in week out and they’re gaining an understanding of one another. We do a bit of work on training ground so they know what they’re doing when match situations come around but they’ve been outstanding. I cannot fault them.”

Marrs also paid tribute to the club’s approach to the away visit to Coventry: “We’ve had a good weekend overall. It’s nice to be supported by your Chairman and come up early and prepare for these games as it makes a huge difference.”

“You can’t travel up on the game, drive for two and a half hours and expect the girls to go out and perform. The chairman has been really, really supportive of me and given me what I want and what I’ve asked for and he’s seeing the benefits of that investment. Long may it continue.”

Gillingham now take a break from the league and will be giving their free time to the local community at a fundraising game against Chartham Real Stars raising funds for EDS charity. A week away from the league won’t unsettle Marrs’ preparations however: “We’ll be training solid. We’ve got a training game this Saturday against a men’s side so we’ll be playing and it will be another test.”

“We will be training as normal, Sunday we will rest, do a bit of scouting and then it’s Chesham in the cup. Providing what goes on Saturday it’s an opportunity in the next couple of weeks to take a look at the fringe players and give those players a chance to prove to us that they’re worthy of being in the squad and worthy of being in the team. “

Marrs concluded our interview, crediting a professional and enjoyable weekend for staff and players at the club: “I think these away games are a good opportunity to get the team together, we had some good banter and a laugh. We all looked professional having our meal together and we try to make it as professional as we can all round, with the support from the chairman we’ve had perfect preparation for today’s game.”

“If we hadn’t won today that would have been on management’s head not the girls, so it’s fantastic. It gives us time as staff to get together which we don’t really normally do and you get to know more about people. The girls enjoy spending time together and their behaviour and attitude has made it a really good weekend. “

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