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Skuse: Pressure Isn't the Issue
Thursday, 13th Feb 2020 16:16

Town vice-captain Cole Skuse has dismissed the notion that the recent run of results – just one point from the last four fixtures – can be attributed to the fact that some players are cracking under the pressure.

The Blues have seen their promotion challenge falter to the extent that they have dropped out of the top six and now trail leaders Rotherham, who also have a game in hand, by seven points.

With second-placed Peterborough six points better off, it looks as if Paul Lambert’s men have a huge task to grab one of the two automatic promotion places.

Even qualifying for the play-offs could prove to be beyond them unless they dramatically improve their recent form, starting on Saturday when Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion are the visitors to Portman Road.

But experienced midfielder Skuse, who spent Thursday afternoon at a adult disability football session to help promote Community Trust Day on Saturday, is adamant the problem has nothing to do with players being unable to cope with the pressure.

Skuse, 33, said: “Pressure isn’t the issue. It’s not as if you would walk into our dressing room, take a look around and think ‘He looks like he’s under a lot of pressure’.

“It’s not something you can easily gauge but we’re a confident group of players when we get out on the pitch.

“You wouldn’t say players are hiding away from the expectation and pressure. We’re still being bold and brave, and trying to win games.

“We still have 13 left to play and that’s a large chunk of fixtures and a lot of points at stake. But don’t get me wrong, we are not hiding away from the fact that we have not been on a great run recently.

“With the obvious exception of AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday, we have been playing against teams in and around us in the table and not picking up any points.

“It has not been an ideal run of results, we know that, but we’re not at the point of absolute panic stations, crisis etc. We know we need to be better than we have been of late but there is still time this season to cement things and achieve what we want to achieve.”

Town were the early-season league leaders, remaining unbeaten in their opening 11 fixtures and taking a very creditable 27 points from the 33 available.

But they have struggled to recapture that form and have only triumphed on five occasions in 20 league games, claiming just 22 of the 60 points on offer.

Skuse added: “When we started the season as we did, turning around the mentality from last season when we finished bottom and were relegated, it was fantastic.

“But to not really bounce on from the position we were in, with points on the board and games in hand, has been really disappointing. But, like I said, there is still a chunk of the season to play for.

“But I know we can’t keep saying that. It has to start now and by that I mean against Burton on Saturday.

“We went to Wimbledon on Tuesday and we dominated large spells of the game, but it was without winning so we came away disappointed with a draw. So we need to put together a run of results and it needs to start straight away.”

Asked if the squad was good enough and if people were over-estimating its overall strength by talking about it as being the strongest in League One, Skuse responded: “We have proven, with the start we had to the season, that we have a strong squad.

“It’s not as if we have had a real thrashing by anyone, although I accept people will point to Peterborough’s 4-1 win at Portman Road.

“It may have looked like it was a slapping but, on reflection, it wasn’t a 4-1 game. It was very much a case of goals changing games but there are no teams in this division who have gone away and said they have absolutely battered Ipswich. That’s simply not the case.

“Are we good enough to get out of this league? Is the squad good enough? I’m not just saying this for the sake of it, but in my opinion it certainly is good enough. But that only adds to the frustration.

“When I look around the training ground on a day-to-day basis, and the dressing room after a game, it makes it all the more frustrating to be coming away from games thinking ‘We should have won that game. We shouldn’t have conceded four goals. We should be winning these games’.

“I got promoted from this level many moons ago with Bristol City and if you look at the current Ipswich squad it contains several players who have promotions to their name.

“You try to draw on your experience, the little percentages that can be added to the big percentages to get you out of the league.

“It won’t just be me or the older players, it will be everyone adding their bit between now and the end of the season.”

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Blue_badge added 16:28 - Feb 13
If players aren't feeling under pressure there's one of the problems!
As for "It may have looked like it was a slapping but, on reflection, it wasn’t a 4-1 game" - you are wrong, they were better in every part of the pitch.
Stop trotting out the "everything is fine, long way to go" type rubbish and get the changing room playing as if their careers depended upon it!

dukey44 added 16:39 - Feb 13
Basically playing you we always play defensive.. Stick you on bench and let younger players play.. Simple answer.. 👍

ChrisFelix added 16:43 - Feb 13
If it ain't pressure, its motivation then.
Problem on the pitch starts with you & Captain Calamity. Its time for these to move on

TimmyH added 16:49 - Feb 13
It's a bit of everything, poor tactical manager, players not performing, not being able to handle the pressure (which in all fairness we haven't been able to for a number of years), a terrible owner - the list could go on!

algarvefan added 17:00 - Feb 13
dukey44 I'm with you, lets see more of the U23 side playing, I think that is our only chance this season.

Ravanelly added 17:03 - Feb 13
Agreed, the issue is that we're boring to watch and not very good.

ITFCsince73 added 17:04 - Feb 13
Whoever extended the contracts of sideways and captain calamity need sacking ASAP.

blueboy1981 added 17:09 - Feb 13
A Manager without a Plan B is the age old problem with this Club - McCarthy never had one, neither has Lambert, there was a Plan B on the bench against Wimbledon - but that is where it stayed....!!!
Another inept Manager at ITFC is the HUGE problem, nothing will change until Lambert the loser goes, because that is all he is.

blueboy1981 added 17:14 - Feb 13
........ as you'll find out if you haven't already.!! 1

cat added 17:16 - Feb 13
Skuse sucks the energy out of the team. Although it’s not ‘good practice (Lol)’ to slate someone, after the last few performances I am well within my rights as a paying customer to do so. His passing early on at Wimbledon was nothing short of woeful. When you give the ball away like that it puts you and the team on the back foot. We need some flair and energy injected into the team and our only hope of that is to take a punt and throw in a youngster or two to try and liven things up. Let’s be honest here, it can’t get much worse, can it?

afcfee added 17:21 - Feb 13
You the captain the manager and half the squad are the problem.

afcfee added 17:30 - Feb 13
Can't believe he's talking up his new contract. The cheek of it after how he's played! Suppose the managers contract hasn't exactly set the bar high. 😠

jas0999 added 17:36 - Feb 13
Skuse has been a great player for the club - but time for the club to move forward and I can’t see where defence minded Skuse fits in - particularly as we have Downes and other defensive midfield options.

blueboy1981 added 17:41 - Feb 13
SHAMBLES - no dead cert win against Burtonwood on Saturday either.
After which the atmosphere could really turn toxic - that's if anyone other than season ticket holders bother to turn up to see more of the same.

therein61 added 17:46 - Feb 13
One point in the last four games since your return sums it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

blueboy1981 added 17:46 - Feb 13
..... Burtonwood 😚 - would probably be too much - and maybe not even professional....!!!

ITFCsince73 added 18:00 - Feb 13
One of the sorry sights of the season. Skuse playing a 2 yard pass to Chambo. It going into touch.
And Chambo picking the ball up and jogging back towards his area. Throwing it back on route so Wimbledon could take their throw. Sums up our play for many seasons not just this one.

Pecker added 18:09 - Feb 13
Just not good enough. Over hyped.

ThaiBlue added 18:17 - Feb 13
Sorry m8 but when you hang your washing out hang ya boots up 2,well past it and take chambers 2.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 18:44 - Feb 13
I just wonder how much the malaise has to do with Skuse and Chambers? Is it a bit cliquy? Too certain about their places? Sucking up to the manager? I'd love to see Flynn Downes as captain tbh. But I fear he will be gone before he gets the chance, replaced by a 33 year old who has been out for 18 months with injury, but once had a good game for Mansfield and costs nothing no doubt.

Michael101 added 19:01 - Feb 13
Well if you are not cracking under the pressure then it must be that you are norfolk and good.

hadleighboyblue added 19:54 - Feb 13
Don't see any leadership on the pitch from either Chambers or Skuse , they should be encouraging , not hiding . Talking a good talk off the pitch doesn't win games .

HackneyBlue added 20:06 - Feb 13
Not had a good thrashing, we were torn apart by Peterbro, comprehensively beaten by Rotherham twice ,Lincoln scored 5 past us ,its the players that need a good thrashing after the match for some of the crap they are dishing up.

Saxonblue74 added 20:48 - Feb 13
I've heard far too much about how we've tailed off since our fantastic start to the season. It WASN'T a great start, despite results and league position. Somehow we ground out results, which I'd take again now, but it was far from convincing!

Doctor_Earman added 22:23 - Feb 13
So what is the issue then, Cole?

Players not good enough? Bad management? Complacency? Whatever it is, you and the rest are chronic underachievers. The sooner you're gone the better.

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