Delaney: Hard Work Paying Off
Saturday, 25th Feb 2012 09:18
Damien Delaney has confirmed that Town’s much-improved recent defensive displays can be attributed to the amount of hard work that has been done on the training ground.
Fit-again Delaney, now back in the side alongside Tommy Smith, has played his part in keeping successive clean sheets – but no one needs to remind him that Ipswich’s record of 57 goals conceded remains the worst in the Championship.
Delaney, 30, said: “We have done a hell of a lot of work on defending as a team and I can’t deny it was necessary, especially when we had shipped so many goals. We’ve all played in teams that have conceded, say, 40 to 45 goals in a season but in our case it was the end of January and that was crazy.
“Things have improved and hopefully it will continue. In our last two games, at Portsmouth and at home to Cardiff, we looked pretty solid. We’re not going to stop everything but even against Cardiff – the way they started I thought it was going to be a very long afternoon – we were comfortable.
“Going back to last season there were times when I was thinking early on ‘We’re going to get murdered here’. At one stage in the game against Norwich I was counting how many players we had on the pitch and that’s not a lie. I was wondering ‘Have two lads gone in or something?’
“There’s a huge difference now. We’ve worked hard in training and we’ve had loads of meetings in which players have had their say about what they thought should be happening. The manager took it all on board.”
The real key to Town’s improvement, Delaney feels, is that they are defending better as a team, with players other than those in the back four taking more responsibility.
He added: “Just as it’s not always the defence’s fault that the team can’t keep a clean sheet, it’s not always the forwards’ fault that we are not scoring enough goals.
“Football is the ultimate team game and the buck doesn’t stop with any one player. If people like Jay Emmanuel-Thomas can run an extra 15 yards and stop a cross coming into the box it stands to reason that we are not going to concede as many goals.
“If JET and others can stop half the crosses, obviously it means there’s a 50 per cent less chance of us conceding goals from crosses. It’s the same up front – midfield men need to make the runs and take defenders away to leave room for Michael Chopra.
“It has all been coming together nicely and no heads have been dropping. Even when players have found they are not getting regular games their attitude has been great. They have left their disappointment behind and been very supportive of the lads in the side.”
Photos: Action Images
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