Hurst: Players Need to Be Brave and Show Character
Tuesday, 23rd Oct 2018 15:08
Manager Paul Hurst says his players have to be brave and show character to get the Blues out of their current situation. Town, who face fourth-placed Leeds at Elland Road tomorrow, sit bottom of the Championship having won only once this season.
Hurst says he doesn’t want his team playing with fear, which looked to be the case during Saturday’s dismal 2-0 loss to QPR.
“Of course not, and someone that’s not directly involved said that at the weekend, that they felt that the players looked as though they were almost scared,” he said.
“I honestly don’t believe that that’s come from myself or the staff, that’s probably more the situation that we find ourselves in.
“We’ve spoken before about needing to be brave and needing character and there’s no doubt that’s what’s needed: one, to have a good career, and two, to try and get out of the situation that we’re in.
“It’s difficult. What I would say is, as a manager, you have X amount of influence and then I’ve said it before, it’s not putting pressure on the players, but they’re the ones that go out and perform.
“Are they carrying out exactly what you’re asking of them or are they maybe inhibited, whether it’s by fear, lack of form, whatever it is.
“We are all in this together but it’s not simply the manager and it’s not simply the players, it’s not simply the staff, it’s everybody.”
Having picked up a surprise three-point haul when they won 3-2 at Swansea, one of the teams expected to challenge this season, the Blues were then humbled by likely also-rans QPR at Portman Road.
Does Hurst believe his side is better set up to play away rather than at home at present?
“Not particularly, I think it can depend on the opposition, they can contribute to that as well,” he reflected.
“One thing that I admit I was a little surprised about – and clearly we haven’t won a game at home since I’ve been here – but it was interesting to look at the record overall over this calendar year [two wins, the last in April] that people have brought to my attention.
“That really surprised me because of where we’re situated. Yes, it’s the Championship and a lot of teams have the luxury of travelling in different ways so perhaps it’s not quite as bad a journey, but it’s still often a journey for teams and I think you’d expect Ipswich’s home form, without looking into anything, to be pretty good and clearly that’s not been the case.
“I find that really strange because I would suggest it’s not a difficult place for the home players to play.
“On Saturday there was obviously some discontent but still I’ve played in a lot worse or managed in a lot worse, so from that point of view I find it a bit strange.
“Maybe people who have been here longer will have had a different thought on that or a different idea of what that is.
“It was interesting speaking to a member of staff yesterday, they said they didn’t feel it felt like a big game on Saturday.
“Not because of the numbers that attended clearly, it was a good crowd, but they didn’t get that feeling and that’s maybe something we’ve somehow got to get together to really see the importance of the situation that we’re in.
“Not just maybe think, ‘It’s going to be alright’ because it won’t be if we just think, ‘It’ll be alright’, that’s not how it works.”
Fans bemoaned the number of long balls pumped towards diminutive striker Freddie Sears on Saturday. Hurst says that certainly wasn’t in the game plan and that confidence was a factor.
“I think that’s part of it,” he continued. “I watch it back and I look at some of our decision-making and I’m not quite sure of the thought processes going through players’ minds. So straightaway you look at that and think, ‘Why is that?’
“And again, despite the victory at Swansea, confidence is the most obvious thing. Are they comfortable? Are they seeing picture?
“The longer the game goes, we are losing, that becomes and an easier out for them.
There’s the other side to it, the opposition have an influence on what you’re doing as well.
“But playing a long ball up to Freddie’s head is not a way that we’re going to win games of football.
“What about, for instance, if their left-back gets the ball, we have a good press on them, he plays a long ball into the channel and someone makes a forward run and gets on the ball? That’s a good ball and it’s a good run.
“Again, a long ball can be a good ball but it’s where you put it. I think Janoi Donacien played a ball, a relatively long ball over the top when Kayden Jackson came on.
“Suddenly he was driving into the box and puts in a cross and the lad defends the near post well.
“There are different ways but certainly I’m not asking the players just to kick the ball as far as they can or just above Freddie’s head to make him get tired of thinking ‘I’ve got a centre-half jumping over the top of me’.
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