Gary Mills: My players have been unbelievable this season

Gateshead boss Gary Mills is determined to seal a place in the history books

Jamie Chandler in action against Southport
Jamie Chandler in action against Southport

It was Gary Mills’ mentor Brian Clough who once uttered: “It only takes a second to score a goal.”

Little wonder then that, even with Gateshead 2-1 down and in danger of slipping out of the play-off places during Good Friday’s game against Southport there was a degree of composure from Mills’ side.

They held on and they grabbed what proved to be a crucial point in a 2-2 draw.

Today they go to Macclesfield looking to hold on to the coveted play-off spot with a view to making club history.

A play-off place is still in their own hands, but even if they did not win promotion this season nobody could say it has not been a good campaign at the International Stadium.

Given Gateshead started the season with no wins in five under Anth Smith, the work carried out since the ex-Nottingham Forest star took over has been nothing short of sensational.

Yet nobody at Gateshead is in consolidation mode just yet.

Even the journalists walk away from a chat with Mills feeling inspired these days.

Even during these crucial moments of the season he finds time to inject a little bit of humour where necessary.

Ahead of the clash at Macclesfield, when asked how his side looked so relaxed despite trailing, Mills quipped: “Who was relaxed? Me or the players? Well, that is the way we play – we do stay patient.

“I just thought we looked a little lost for ideas at times against Southport. Some players were making runs they woud not make normally, then we tried to force it.

“Frustration started to show for a few, but you work so hard and you get so close you don’t want to throw it away.

“That’s what comes with this. My job is try to calm everybody down.

“My job is to keep telling them how to win a football match and how you stay in the play-off positions. We don’t get desperate.

“We go again on Monday and if we win we stay in the top five.”

While it could have once been looked at as two points dropped against Southport, Mills has instilled a fresh and positive mentality these days at the Heed.

He added: “There’s nothing from me, though, to say it wasn’t good enough. I thought we were fantastic again to come back twice and show what we are about.

“It was another game we haven’t lost and another game we have taken a point from. It was another reason we are in the top five. We are giving it everything we have.”

At the end of the clash with Southport, Mills took his players into the centre circle to form a huddle with every player and every member of coaching staff.

Mills revealed what he said during his team talk, saying: “They have been unbelievable – that’s what I told them in the middle of the pitch.

“We are still fifth – we deserve to be there. It doesn’t matter whether we drew on Good Friday or back in October, we took a big point and it kept us in the top five.”

With scores of fans heading to Macclesfield today, Mills also paid tribute to the Heed Army.

He said: “The fans have been fantastic. They probably don’t get enough praise. I have been on a bus that many times over the last two months it’s been difficult.

“It is a long, long way for the players too. We have been coming back at 4am and 5am in the morning.

“They are still producing. They have been superb.”

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