'I wasn't even worried' - Andy Butler had every faith in his Doncaster Rovers side despite horror start at Gillingham

Andy Butler insists he had every confidence in his Doncaster Rovers side fighting their way back into the game against Gillingham despite falling two goals down inside the opening four minutes.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 7:20 pm

Gillingham roared out of the traps with goals from Jordan Graham and Vadaine Oliver but Rovers fought back and were level by the midway point of the first half after netting through Tom Anderson and James Coppinger.

Despite the chaotic start to the game, Butler says he was not fazed - and neither was his team.

“The first time I think we actually had a meaningful touch on the ball was four minutes into the game and I could see the pockets of space open up,” he said.

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Andy Butler
Andy Butler

“Copps was finding space, Omar [Bogle] was holding the ball up and Copps was linking off him, we had runners and the two midfielders Reece [James] and Matt Smith found areas.

“I said to Paul Gerrard on the sideline that we were going to get back into it and I wasn’t even worried.

“You’re disappointed by the position you’re in but I wasn’t worried.”

Having struggled for spark in their recent performances, Butler was pleased with the manner in which his side responded to their early setback and picked up a valuable point on the road.

“It was a whirlwind of emotions,” he said. “You prepare the players and sometimes you can’t stop it.

“I’m not going to hammer them for that. In percentages I thought we defended really well and put pressure on them in the right areas.

“You look through the team and you couldn’t really pick anyone that didn’t stand out today.

“Even the subs came on and made an impact, that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s a whole squad.

“And play with a smile on your face. There’s no point in playing otherwise. If you play with the weight of the world on your shoulders then it’s going to affect you.

“We spoke a lot about mentality and controlling the controllables, which they did.

“They had a lot of things to deal with - decisions not going their way and the surroundings - but I’m pleased with them.

“It’s a positive point for me. I’m not down about it.”

Butler was pleased with the performance in defence from his side as they dealt with a barrage of balls into the box from their hosts, particularly in the second half.

And he says he will be issuing a strong reminder regarding concentration following the disappointing start.

“The first four minutes weren’t ideal and we were climbing a mountain after that,” he said.

“I spoke to the players after about having the right mentality and switching on. We knew what they were going to do and we just didn’t defend the first two balls well enough.

“After that I thought we were incredible at dealing with balls into the box. The number of balls that came in, the number of headers we won on first and second balls, blocks, rebounds - it was great to see the work ethic and togetherness of the lads.”

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