|Ipswich Town 1 v 1 Norwich City|
Sunday, 2nd September 2018 Kick-off 12:00
Hurst: I Really Enjoyed it Apart From Their Goal
Sunday, 2nd Sep 2018 16:24
Blues boss Paul Hurst said he enjoyed his first experience of the East Anglian derby and felt Town might have deserved to take all three points from the 1-1 draw with Norwich City.
“I really enjoyed it apart from their goal,” he said. “We all know what derby day is and the atmosphere lived up to that.
“I know we’re the home side, but particularly our fans, certainly before the game and in the second half, the atmosphere was really through the roof.
“I just feel for them that we didn’t quite get the result that we probably deserved without absolutely dominating the game or anything.
“But I felt our better spells were better than Norwich’s were. Both teams scored when they were having spells on top.
“That second half, we really came out strong, got in front and stayed on the front foot. But then Norwich just came back into it and got their goal which means we’re sat here talking about a draw rather than the victory we all wanted.”
Asked whether his selection, featuring six changes with Dean Gerken replacing Bartosz Bialkowski was brave, Hurst added: “That’s the one everyone keeps asking me about. Without being rude to Bart, he’s no different to any other player here and he’s got to perform to be in the team and at this moment in time he hasn’t lived up to that.
“So I can’t just keep picking someone when I’ve got someone like Dean Gerken as the other goalkeeper.
“That’s why I went for it. I’m sure Bart will come back and have good games for Ipswich Town in he future, but at the minute I don’t feel that’s quite been happening, so that was that choice.
“The rest, it was a bit strange someone just asked downstairs as though last week was a really bad performance or something, that wasn’t the case but I’ve got to go with what’s right for the team and I felt that that was the right line-up to go with and I don’t think it was too far wrong, we certainly almost got the result that we wanted.”
Regarding his system, he said: “Really simply it was a 4-2-3-1. Jon Walters, what he does do by being that so-called 10 that people are on about, just naturally he’ll play a little bit higher at times, so sometimes accepted it’s [4-4-2].
“And this what I’d say about system, it’s great that that’s the initial thing but then the game moves and players move. It’s very rare you’re ever just a back four, for instance.
“I know where you’re coming from [by saying it was 4-4-2] but the idea was still for Jon to drop into those little areas, certainly defensively. But out of possession we wanted to be more just one holding and trying to put the pressure on, which in the second half I think we did better.”
The Blues were best in a 20-minute spell after the break but Hurst played down his team-talk having had a massive impact.
“I think sometimes there’s an element that games are like that,” he reflected. “I’d like to take lots of credit and we changed things tactically and perhaps got on top of that but it was more just saying that the game will settle down a little bit, which it did to a degree.
“I just thought we passed it a little bit more and we wanted to try and get on the second ball a little bit more as well, at times. And certainly we pushed them back.
“We lost Skusey, then they’ve lost the centre-half [Timm Klose], we’ve both lost quite a big player for us to some degree, but we did start well and that’s a credit to the players.”
He added: “I think we had quite a few efforts from the edge of the box from which we didn’t test the keeper or just put it back into the area where it might take a deflection, things like that.
“If we could have got that second then clearly you’ve got that advantage and we could well have broken Norwich’s will at that point, but they did come into it and had that little spell as I say.
“I’m disappointed because we had an opportunity to clear the ball [before the Norwich goal] that we didn’t take. While it was a few seconds after that before the ball found its way into our goal, we’ve got to know when to try and play and when to clear it.
“And I’ll never shout at anyone for hoofing it in the stand or up the pitch if they’re in that scenario, that was the disappointment there.”
Hurst said Skuse was fine after the match despite having been stretchered off: “He’s OK thankfully. He’s walking around speaking to people and know what they’re names are. He knows where he is, so that’s pleasing.
“We can get him home to his family and start to recover, although I’m aware he’s got kids so he might be better trying to get round one of his single team-mate’s houses, I’m not sure.”
He added: “It was a bang on the head, I’m not exactly sure but I certainly saw blood down one side of his head, so I’m presuming there’s some kids of cut there.
“I’m not sure whether there have been any stitches at this stage but it was obviously quite a heavy knock that he took because it was signalled from the pitch quite early that we would probably have to make that change and that was how it resulted.”
Hurst says the neck brace which Skuse was wearing as he was taken off the field was precautionary.
“It looks that way, I didn’t go on the pitch so I’m not entirely 100 per cent sure, but he’s certainly in there walking around,” he continued.
“I asked him whether he felt sick, but he said he was fine and that’s the main thing, that he’s good and healthy.”
Hurst was impressed with centre-half Matthew Pennington’s debut: “I thought he did very well, I have to say. He’s a defender first and foremost, he has played at the level before, but still to come into this type of game [isn’t easy], and I know he’s played in the Merseyside derby.
“But still, having only trained with us once and arrived here very late on Friday evening after a long journey over, I thought acquitted himself extremely well and he’ll be pleased with his debut.”
Hurst felt Walters showed no sign of a lack of recent games prior to his loan move from Burnley this week.
“I think that’s a credit to Jon,” he said. “When you speak to people, realistically they’re not going to tell you they’re not match fit and they can’t do this or can’t do that, they’re always going to give you the good side of it but Jon was keen to stress he’s a fit lad, he brought his stats over from what he’s been doing training-wise and the game that he had played and said, ‘I’ll look after myself’.
“At half-time I asked him if he was going to be OK for 90 minutes in terms of looking towards the substitutions at the end of the game and he said, ‘Yes, fine, definitely.’
“I’m sure he was tired because he ran around and you should be tired when you come off the pitch but I didn’t see him tire more than anyone else.
“I thought he had a very good game, will get better as well, but at the same time his enthusiasm and importantly his know-how to the younger players will be crucial to us, whether that’s on the pitch, in the dressing room, on the training pitch or just around the place. He can be a big player for us.”
Hurst says Janoi Donacien was left out of the 18 as only five loanees are allowed in a matchday squad but says he had planned to start Jordan Spence.
“I’d spoken JD and I was going to play Jordan Spence," he said. "The fact he wasn’t involved in the 18 was down to the loan difficulties that we’re having.
“I’m hoping that that will be sorted out for our next game in a couple of weeks because everything is supposedly in place but he’s just waiting for some kind of documentation then that can then be made into a permanent transfer.”
Going into the two-week international break Hurst says there’s work to do but insists everything is far from wrong despite the Blues not having won a game in their opening six league matches and their Carabao Cup tie at Exeter.
“I’ll be surprised if we’re not better off than some teams despite points totals etc,” he said. “All I would say is that today it did feel again like we were putting a new team out there.
“What are we? Six league games in? So it can only help in terms of bedding those new players in, just silly things in terms of them knowing their surroundings, getting to know their team-mates better.
“I think we need to do a bit of fitness work with one or two players as well and we’ll take the opportunity to do that. We’ll get three really good days in this week.
“But overall, I’m genuinely not sat here, and I’m not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, thinking that so much is wrong because we haven’t won a game of football.
“I desperately want to get that win so we can stop talking about it and we were close again today, but I don’t think we’re a bad side.
“And while it sounds a bit silly and we haven’t won here, we also haven’t lost and no team has had it easy in different games that we’ve seen.
“The lads have just got to stick with it, I’ve got to stick with it, the fans have, who have been great since I arrived at the club and hopefully they can see what we are trying to do, and I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Norwich boss Daniel Farke felt his team was on top in the first half but the Blues began the second strongly with a draw ultimately the right result.
“To sum it up I got the feeling in the first half we were the better side,” he said.
“Alex Tettey and Teemu Pukki had chances. They had one from Walters but we felt if we played in this manner in the second half we would win the game. It was then a bit tricky.
“We had to substitute a key player in Timm Klose. He went to stand up and said he felt weird, an unbelievable headache. We had to get him off with concussion.
"Ipswich were the better side for 15 or 20 minutes, they sensed we had lost our focus and put us under a lot of pressure and deserved to be in the lead. They were better in this spell, although the goal was deflected after touching Ben Godfrey’s chest.
“I was so pleased with the reaction of my lads, with so many inexperienced lads in the last row. We should have equalised earlier when Alex [Tettey] had two great chances, Grant Hanley a big chance from five metres.
“The equaliser was deserved and we could have won the game but then Louis Thompson got injured and we had made our subs.
“It showed a lot about our togetherness that Louis told me he wanted to stay on the pitch and help with a set piece or whatever. If we draw a line, a fair result but I am totally pleased with my lads.”
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