|Leeds United 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Wednesday, 24th October 2018 Kick-off 19:45
Hurst: It Was Always Going to Be Tough Against Leeds
Wednesday, 24th Oct 2018 22:58
Boss Paul Hurst felt Town were always going to be in for a tough evening against Leeds United, who comfortably beat the Blues 2-0 at Elland Road to return to the top of the table.
“I think if anyone was expecting anything [other than] it being a tough evening then they clearly haven’t been paying attention to Leeds United this season,” Hurst said.
“It doesn’t matter what we are, it was always going to be tough and, to be honest, I’ve seen Leeds outplay teams more than I have tonight.
“Whether or not they were stretched we can debate that, but I didn’t feel as threatened as perhaps I might have expected to at times, albeit they upped the tempo in that second period.”
After an even opening to the game, Kemar Roofe’s 22nd minute header set the Whites on their way.
“It was a fantastic ball in, I think we could have done more to stop the cross in the first place but it was ultimately a moment of quality in terms of the delivery,” Hurst added.
“I’d probably fancy myself to score that. But he was back in the team, he’s a goalscorer and he was back in the goals tonight from my point of view.”
Asked whether he has found this week’s speculation regarding his future hard to deal with, he said: “I’m not one to go searching for it but at the same time I don’t lock myself in a room and don’t speak to anyone. Unfortunately, those things are out there. At they healthy? Realistically, no.
“But at the same time, as I said going into the game, all you can do is focus on your job and do it to the best of your ability. And ultimately if it’s not good enough or deemed not good enough, then so be it.
“It doesn’t help, it’s something else I’m not happy about but at the same time I think if we were a team that was full of players that weren’t willing to fight we’d have lost by more than a 2-0 scoreline.
“I know they hit the post but what I didn’t see, and I don’t if anyone felt differently, but I didn’t feel like I saw a team which would just roll over and let Leeds do what they want.
“Ultimately Leeds are a very good team, we couldn’t take advantage of them maybe being not quite at their best in terms of confidence coming into the game, a little bit of a difficult run for them in terms of how well they’ve done this season so far.”
Hurst says no one has spoken to him about his future in relation to the speculation. Asked whether he’d like a reassuring call from owner Marcus Evans tomorrow, he added: “I keep saying it, that’s not for me, that’s whether Marcus feels that he needs to or not. All I’ll do is get on with my job.
“In a lot of ways, I’m not going to lie, managers are pleased if they can just be left to get on with their job, so I’m not going to complain that he’s [not] ringing me every day, I just have to get on with it.”
Although still bottom the Blues are level with 23rd-placed Hull City with Reading three points ahead in 22nd and then Rotherham, Millwall and Preston all a point further ahead outside the relegation zone.
Asked whether one good thing about the current situation is that his team are far from adrift at this stage and whether he’s confident his players can turn things around, he said: “Yes, we hope so. It’s interesting you said that because I was told at the weekend we were ‘rock bottom’. I don’t see it like that and from that question I’d say you probably agree.
“We’re in a pack of teams that, whether we all like it or not, in my opinion are going to be fighting to stay in the division.
“Probably I would say one team out of that will have a run and pull away and there’ll be one team, maybe two, that will probably drop back down.
“We’ve got to hang on in there for as long as possible until we gain more confidence, maybe try and improve the squad.
“We’ve lost Jon Walters, we’ve lost Ellis Harrison at the top end of the pitch, we’re very limited on what we can do there. It’s difficult for the two lads in terms of how we want to try and play.
“It’s not an excuse but sometimes things go against you and you’ve got to try and find different ways and at the minute we’re still trying to do that.”
Is there an understanding regarding that? “I think in some areas there is and in others there won’t be. And I think that’s football.
“Again, that’s opinions, some people are sympathetic, other people expect you to win the league. That’s the industry that we’re in.”
Town next face 20th-placed Millwall at the Den on Saturday, Preston, 19th, at home and then 21st-placed Reading at the Madejski Stadium, big games for the Blues.
“We thought QPR was as well,” reflected Hurst. “Every game is big. What I will clarify is, despite the fact I think unlikely getting a victory was unlikely or maybe even a point here tonight, we didn’t turn up with that intention.
“The team wasn’t changed round thinking we’ll just try something and give it a go, it was to come and get something, albeit it was very difficult. Just to quash any thoughts of that.
“The next three are big games in a way that you look at teams that are down towards the lower reaches.
“But at the same time, even then it won’t be done and dusted either way after those three games. There’s still a long, long way to go. But we certainly want to try and not - at the very worst - let that gap get any bigger and hopefully reduce it.
“I haven’t seen the results tonight, certainly as was mentioned going into the game, one victory and you can be out of the relegation zone, albeit not clear of it. We’ve got to make sure we stay in that pack of teams.”
Leeds manager Marelo Bielsa felt his team was worthy of the win which took his team back to the top of the Championship ahead of Middlesbrough on goal difference.
“It was a necessary win and a deserved one too,” he said. “There were two different halves and in the second half we had fluidity which we didn't have in the first half.
“Our team was constantly offensive and we had 10 clear chances to score a goal.
"In the first half we spent many minutes not playing. We had the obligation to change this and make the right pass. If we do this, we play.”
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