McKenna: Just Manage the Context of the Game Well - Ipswich Town News

Boss Kieran McKenna has reflected on his side’s performance in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over bottom side Rotherham United at Portman Road.

Given the teams’ relative positions, Town were expected to sweep away the Millers but in the end had to rely on Omari Hutchinson smashing in a 95th-minute winner to claim all three points, despite having been 3-1 up at half-time.

"We watched the game back and I think there were lots of good things in the first half, to be honest, I think there were lots of good things probably in the first 60 minutes, I thought we were a real attacking threat,” McKenna said.

"Rotherham came man-to-man over the pitch with a really physical team and an experienced team and in that context the game, it's never going to be clean, the game's always going to be broken.

"When you have the ball, they're trying to get physical contact to make challenges straight away. When they have the ball, they're setting up every set play, so there's no flow to the game.

"And when the game's like that, a big thing you have to do that we speak about is you have to show your teeth, you have to show your threat on the top line, you have to show that if you keep jumping and you leave us a lot of space at the back, then we can go through and we can hurt you really quickly, and we can create chances and score goals.

"And we've done that in the first half, we've got three goals, we could have had four or five goals, really. 

"I thought at the start of the second half, we controlled the ball pretty well and again we weren't really under any threat.

"I think for the last 30 minutes, we didn't manage the game, we didn't manage the emotion, we didn't manage the tension and we didn't manage our direct threats well enough.

"So that's something that we've reviewed and looked back on and will hopefully do better in the same scenario in the future. 

"I think there were some good things to the game, certainly, but also some things to improve. I think a big thing for everyone really is to - and I said it before the game and I felt the same things watching it back - just manage the context of the game well.

"We’re now operating at the top end of the Championship, we're expected to win the game. Not so long ago, Rotherham were above us in the pyramid and they've probably got more experience in terms of Championship appearances possibly than us in the team, so it's not going to be an easy game.

"I go there knowing that, but that's still a different dynamic of a game and when you make an early mistake in the game, like we did, and there's tension on the pitch, there's tension in the stands, and the same when we make a mistake to go to 3-2, and then you've got 20 minutes or 30 minutes with a one-goal lead, there's going to be some tension there.

"But it's trying to control the bits of the performance as well as what we can, trying to enjoy the challenges, trying to enjoy each game, not get caught up in anything else, support the players on the pitch as well as we possibly can and stick together and keep trying to produce performances as good as we possibly can, but that's going to be staff, players, crowd, everyone, everyone pulling in and doing that together.”

What to read next:

Life's a Pitch TV - Episode 37 - Luke Chambers
This week’s Life’s a Pitch TV with star guest Luke Chambers is now available on YouTube.
Morsy: I've Found a Good Level of Consistency
Player of the Year Sam Morsy believes he has found a good level of consistency this season but feels he’s still capable of improvement.
FA Cup Replays Scrapped
FA Cup replays have been scrapped from round one onwards from next season.
Friend of the Foundation Fundraising Scheme Launched
The Ipswich Town Foundation has launched a new fundraising initiative for supporters and local businesses, Friend of the Foundation.
[Podcast] The Naked Football Show - Listen Again
This week's Naked Football Show is now available online.
Kiwomya: All Of a Sudden Football's On the Back Pages
Plenty of Town players and bosses have gone on to manage in international football with Chris Kiwomya the latest to achieve success with the British Virgin Islands, recently guiding them into the second phase of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the first time in their history.
Former Blue Evans Promoted From League One Again
Former Blues midfielder Lee Evans secured promotion from League One for a second successive year as Portsmouth, the club he joined in March after leaving the Blues, claimed the title and a place in next year’s Championship this evening.
U18s Let Three-Goal Lead Slip Against Charlton
Town’s U18s drew 3-3 with Charlton Athletic at Playford Road this afternoon, despite having been 3-0 in front before the half-hour mark.
Trialist Nets as U21s Draw at Crewe
Town’s U21s drew 1-1 away with Crewe Alexandra at their Alexandra Park training ground this afternoon.
Baggott in Teams of the Week
Blues on-loan central defender Elkan Baggott has been named in the League One and overall EFL Teams of the Week for his display for Bristol Rovers as they defeated Cheltenham Town 3-1 on Saturday.