Sent-off Portsmouth youngster Haji Mnoga sent clear message by Gillingham boss Neil Harris following nightmare start to life at Priestfield

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Neil Harris sent a clear message to Haji Mnoga following his red card on debut for Gillingham on Saturday – learn from it, and fast!

The on-loan Pompey defender was dismissed 10 minutes into his maiden appearance for the Gills against Swindon following two bookable offences.

Only four minutes separated each caution as he received his marching orders from referee Martin Woods.

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And it left Priestfield boss Harris in no doubt what needed to be said to the 20-year-old, who only arrived at the League Two side on transfer deadline day.

Despite rating the Tanzania international highly, he said Mnoga needed to learn from his nightmare start to life at Gillingham, and quickly, with the Kent side remaining 21st in the table as they managed to secure a goalless draw against the Robins.

Speaking to BBC Kent after a game which saw the host play 80 minutes with 10 men, Harris said: ‘Obviously he (Mnoga) has apologised at the time.

‘He’s apologised afterwards but it’s not about the apology, I’m not interested in the apology – it’s not that at all.

‘It’s about him learning.

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On-loan Pompey defender Haji Mnoga was sent off on his Gillingham debut against Swindon on Saturday.On-loan Pompey defender Haji Mnoga was sent off on his Gillingham debut against Swindon on Saturday.
On-loan Pompey defender Haji Mnoga was sent off on his Gillingham debut against Swindon on Saturday.

‘He’s a young man who we’ve took because Portsmouth believe in him and I’ve seen him. I know how good he’s going to be and he’s going to be a very, very top player.

‘But he has to learn fast and I haven’t time for players to make errors like that.

‘We got away with it today. His players dug him out of a hole and that’s what a good team does, but he has to learn from that.

‘That’s all I’ve said to him, he has to learn from that and he will do.’

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Mnoga will now serve an automatic one-match ban following his sending off and will miss Gillingham’s next game at Crawley on Saturday, September 10.

It’s the second time in the Blues academy graduate’s fledgling career that he has seen red, with the defender also sent off in an FA Cup tie against Rotherham last season, when on loan at Bromley.

The talented youngster has made 18 appearances at Pompey, with three of those coming this season in both the Carabao Cup and Papa John’s Trophy before his season-long move to Priestfield last Thursday.