Stephen Clemence admitted that his mentor Steve Bruce would not have been impressed at Gillingham’s defending after sloppy work at the back led to a 2-0 home defeat to Bradford.
Goals from Jamie Walker and Andy Cook were enough to clinch a fifth straight win for Graham Alexander’s side, handing Clemence his first home league defeat since he took over at the start of November.
The former Premier League midfielder, who spent time under Bruce at various clubs, explained how his former boss would have been disappointed by the showing at Priestfield Stadium.
He said: “They’ve had two shots on target and they’ve scored two goals. It’s about mentality. You’ve got to keep going and keep doing the right things. You can’t get a scrambled brain every time you go behind. You’ve got to get the basics right and compete properly.
“I can pick up the phone to a number of people to try and help me, but I am the one who has to make the decisions now. I have to choose who I speak to carefully and people I really trust and go forward with my decision.
“I speak to people like Steve Bruce all the time. We’ve just kept two clean sheets before this, but here we give two goals away. He wouldn’t like that very much – and I don’t like it very much either.”
Gillingham had the better of the early chances, Macauley Bonne’s flick-on from Connor Mahoney’s corner brilliantly palmed away by Harry Lewis.
Instead, it was Bradford who hit the front just after the half-hour as Scott Malone was pickpocketed deep in his own half by Alex Gilliead, who squared to Walker for the simple finish from 12 yards.
Gillingham pushed for an equaliser after the break, with Mahoney posing questions from set-pieces and Max Ehmer heading over when well placed.
But it was Bradford who doubled their lead on 74 minutes, Cook firing his free-kick under the wall from 25 yards out.
Alexander said: “That was the toughest game we’ve played, with everything coming to this venue brings and we stood up to it really well. I do feel the players are in a good place.
“We spoke at half-time that their crowd, the players, their team were going to put a lot of pressure on the officials to give free-kicks and maybe throw cards out there.
“We asked for discipline and then have three yellows in five minutes and give away free-kick after free-kick. It didn’t quite go according to plan on that side but when the ball did come into the box we were there to compete and put our bodies on the line.”
On Lewis’ save from Bonne, he added: “Harry’s not been tested that much in the last few games. But what he’s had to do, he’s done really competently.
“That’s probably the first one when you’ve gone, ‘that’s a fantastic save’. He was really sharp on his line and those are the little moments that we have to make sure go our way.”