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O'Neill: We're Reviewing Where We Need to Make Amends for Last Season
Saturday, 11th Jul 2020 13:43

General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill says the club continues to review what went wrong during the curtailed 2019/20 season in which the Blues finished 11th in League One on points per game, their lowest finish since 1952/53, having targeting automatic promotion.

Town led the division in the early stages of the campaign and briefly again in January but won only four of their final 21 League One matches, form a long way from their stated ambition of winning automatic promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.

After a recent radio interview O’Neill was misquoted on social media suggesting automatic promotion wasn’t Town’s aim for the season but he says that was certainly the target.

“One hundred per cent and I’ve made that clear, people did misquote what I’d said in that particular interview,” he told TWTD.

“I said our aspiration and our target was to win the league, that’s fundamentally why we turn up to do our job, to win the league and get out of it. That was what we set out to do.

“If you want, our minimum aim was that we wanted to hit the play-offs and for most of the season we were in and around most of those objectives.

“Yes, we are doing and have done reviews looking at where we need to make amends for last year and we need to change things around because we can’t do what we did for the last two or three months of last season because that simply wasn’t good enough.”

When it was put to him that it was more than just the final few months, the record of four league wins in 21 stretched back to November, O’Neill responded: “I think at the end of January though we were top of the league. You can look at it and you might pick up a point away from home and people deem that as not a good result but at the end of the day the league table doesn’t lie, if you’re in and around it, you’re performing well.

“Yes, we needed to win more games, there’s no question about that, you can’t question that. Did we win enough games? No we didn’t.

“We all have pride in what we do and we need to make sure it’s better going forward, players more so than anybody else as well.

“They’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what it is and we’ve got to improve on where we finished last season, that’s for sure.”

Manager Paul Lambert was handed a five-year deal on New Year's Day. Was his position ever in any doubt given the disappointing campaign? “You know the commitment that Marcus had made to Paul from the football club’s perspective on that and there needs to be an element of time associated to that.

“And he’s always been that way with managers, giving them time to adapt and get their teams and squads ready to go to put the club’s best foot forward.

“Paul, if you were interviewing him now, he knows that wasn’t where the club should be and where the club should finish in League One and he and other staff members and players need to make sure we can address that and put it right, and we hope to do that as quickly as possible.”

Quizzed on why he thought the season went so badly awry, O’Neill says injuries were a big factor with Kane Vincent-Young and James Norwood among those to spend spells on the sidelines.

“There’s no hiding from it, we had some significant players that were out for long periods of time,” he said.

“We’d invested heavily in them earlier in the season and they weren’t available for us for the games for different reasons.

“I think if we’d had those players available then I do think it would have been a very different situation.

“And also we had a lot of home games left that we weren’t able to even play and they make a difference.

“You cry over spilt milk if you want, it’s happened and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re all incredibly frustrated the way it ended and that frustration needs to be channeled and funnelled and ready to put the best foot forward for this season.”

Just over a year ago O’Neill told TWTD that the club’s medical and sports science staff would be compiling a report on the club’s injury situation with several recent seasons having been similar hit by fitness issues.

“I wish we could have a specific reasoning as to why that happens,” he said when asked about that report. “Unfortunately, it is very much what it is. You speak to a number of other clubs, they have the same issues.

“Everyone’s looking to address injuries and try and reduce them, so we look at lots of different areas, whether it’s the games or the training.

“Unfortunately it’s a contact sport and there are risks associated with that that we cannot plan for and unfortunately injuries do happen.

“The human body wasn’t designed necessarily to play football and it being a contact sport, injuries occurred.

“We’ve had a fair share of them and it’s been unfortunate and we are analysing every aspect of that from a medical and sports science point of view to try and reduce it but I don’t think you’ll ever take it off the table completely because it’s a contact.”

He added: “Ask Arsenal, ask Manchester United, over the last 10 years they’ve had players who have been injured, bigger clubs with more investments in certain areas and a lot more technology than we have and they’re still having the same issues.

“When you strip it all back, it’s very simple, is the body robust enough? Yes, but it’s not designed to certain things and when you do it it becomes a risk and in a contact sport it’s going to happen.

“You can put all the provisions in place and it will help minimise it but it won’t take the risk away.”


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GeoffSentence added 13:53 - Jul 11
Better manager. Job done.
5

Suffolkboy added 13:58 - Jul 11
Level headed, professional ,knowledgeable and unafraid to be articulate : it’s difficult to find fault with his mantra,and we continue to be impressed by his manners and conduct !
COYB
2

braveblue added 14:01 - Jul 11
He does talk an incredible amount of nonsense. Four wins in 31 games and performing well? Beggars belief. With Evans in control and mouthpieces like this we will do nothing.
9

d77sgw added 14:21 - Jul 11
Just PR bollix. The league table in January WAS lying - those of us regulars knew that, and were saying it - our performances did not warrant that position - but noone else was putting a run together at that point. We were poor from October onwards, let alone November. And as for blaming injuries, the squad we had without KVY and Norwood (who was erratic anyway) was the envy of the division. And Lambert was the one who started chopping and changing the starting 11 anyway, before injuries even occured. That was the main error - f*cking around with the defence which, until he dropped Holy for no reason at all, was looking solid. You look at every successful team - they have a solid back 4/5, which you only change if you HAVE to. The defence is about skill, hard work, concentration and.....communication. This was Richard Wright's main asset - he was a good shot stopper, reasonable on croses, but he was a GREAT communicator. If you chop and change the defence every week they lose that telepathy. Nah, Lambert has to take the flak for this - we had a great squad, far more resource than any other team, solid backing from the owner (I'm no fan....), and were the architects of our own downfall, changing the line up ad postponing fixtures to just destroy any team understanding and momentum we were building. And frankly the cr@p that this Lee Evans or whatever his name is talks just makes him seem like another PR mouthpiece. Sad days. Hope we learn the lessons next season - get a settled squad, and stick with it... (oh, and play our own players rather than loanees).
19

RobsonWark added 14:25 - Jul 11
“Yes, we are doing and have done reviews looking at where we need to make amends for last year and we need to change things around because we can’t do what we did for the last two or three months of last season because that simply wasn’t good enough.”

SIMPLES...DROP CHAMBERS FROM THE TEAM!! He will make even more mistakes next season.

Why can't you grow some ba##s and go with a youthful team like Southgate does with England?
-4

Shawsey added 14:52 - Jul 11
Bloke is a plank.
-3

Robert_Garrett added 14:59 - Jul 11
Notice the Canary lovers are leading the bleats. The real supporters are putting their bums on seats and are the quiet majority. I am renewing for the 54th year on the trot. Invite you all to join me. COYB.
3

Michael101 added 15:03 - Jul 11
Reviewing is all well and good,but will you do anything about it is what matters.
7

Cakeman added 15:47 - Jul 11
O’Neill continues to come in for plenty of stick whenever he makes comment. I can understand people’s frustrations with that but the chap does talk sense. Sadly the likes of Milne and Clegg before him suffered the supporters wrath which is part of the job I guess.
Not his fault though as whoever is in that role can only say what they are allowed to. This set up doesn’t work and never will unless our owner takes control and speaks with (not to) the supporters on a regular basis. Most clubs from league one would enjoy that relationship.
8

therein61 added 15:55 - Jul 11
Errors in defence and supposed midfield cover have been and will continue to cost us loads of points until the culprits are side lined for good.
1

brittaniaman added 16:07 - Jul 11
So Mr. O'Neil Explain How that the Mighty Wycombe and Fleetwood with Smaller Squads than us finish way above us in the dreaded League one ???????
11

Pencilpete added 17:15 - Jul 11
I can tell you how to improve.... stop losing at home to $hite.
6

Dissboyitfc added 19:08 - Jul 11
Injuries play a part in every teams saeson! it was the chopping and changing and the postpoing of games that were the biggest factors!

The blame lies firmly on the shoulders of Lambert for last seasons debacle!

Look at it this way,12 points from a possible 63 ( last 21 games) is a points tally that most people with a football brain could improve on, a shocking return which is unforgivable!

If that form continues into the first 6 games of the new season Lambert needs to go, simples!
7

dukey44 added 21:54 - Jul 11
This man is one of reasons we are totally tosh.. Talks so much rubbish.. Sack the manager and get someone in that knows how to get football out of poor players. 👍
0

herfie added 22:03 - Jul 11
Any meaningful review of both last season, and our loss of C’ship status, needs to objectively consider all elements of this club’s soul. The effectiveness of a remote and inept owner; the wisdom of giving a 5 year contract to a manager whose ability to coach, lead and inspire a squad of varying quality and ability, has been far from convincing; and the performances and mental robustness of some players, who might be accused of being happy to ply their trade in a rural outpost where their quality of life blunts the ruthless desire to win.

Taken together, until someone admits there exists a fundamental fault line running from top to bottom within the club, and that those conducting any review are themselves an integral part of the problem, then I fear the real, deep seated, issues will be skirted around. A dose of honesty and bravery is required If any review is to be worthwhile. And, once completed, what then!
3

Steve_D added 22:44 - Jul 11
Same speech every season ,we look at what we have done and look to improve , every year we get worse , clueless out of date manager , who couldn't manage to get out of a paper bag , owner who doesn't give a monkey,s . Ok the M E lovers say he invests , all other business, s call it paying the bills , He would have studied the books before he took over , he knew what he would need to invest , he would have had a best and worst scenario given to him , so he knew exactly what he was getting into and still his tenure has been a disaster
1

istanblue added 01:16 - Jul 12
More utter BS from O'Neill. Surprised he didn't trot out the 'we would've made the play-offs if it wasn't for COVID' myth. Quotes like ''we've got to improve'' and ''put the best foot forward for this season'' are laughable platitudes that we've heard again and again. Lambert needs to take a large part of the blame for sure, but Evans is the one keeping him in employment and is the single common denominator during our plight. Said it before and I'll say it again: until Evans is out of this club the best we can hope for is being a League 1/Championship yo-yo club (ala Rotherham and Barnsley).
What I found most 'interesting' about O'Neill's comments though was the following:

''...we are doing and have done reviews looking at where we need to make amends for last year and we need to change things around because we can’t do what we did for the last two or three months of last season because that simply wasn’t good enough''

If it wasn't good enough why is Lambert still here? It is simply another case of our spinless owner and his puppet accepting and covering for total failure. If ITFC was a serious club with any sort of standards then Lambert would've been out the door the minute an 11th placed finish in the 3rd tier was confirmed. As it is, Lambert will be in the dug-out next season and I doubt even a poor start will be enough for Evans to give him his marching orders. We are stuck with PL because of ANOTHER poor Evans decision in giving him a 5 year contract and a failure to own up to that mistake and rectify it.
Evans Out.
3

bernie added 08:22 - Jul 12
We need to start with the defence 100% , a decent centre half and left back , and let Wilson and kenlock go , and a mr Lambert I would give you eight games no more and would expect to see a massive improvement , you’re a lucky man to still have a job
3

Dockerblue added 10:10 - Jul 12
What went wrong last season was the rotation of players but Chambers managed to play every game bar one. Our worst player by a country mile, it,s like starting every game with 10 men. Never mind Lambert out, Evan's out, those two are going nowhere. The buffoon of a skipper is the one that needs getting shot of. I will not set foot in Portman Rd while he is at the club.
1

runningout added 11:14 - Jul 12
Review?? Who’s doing this blooming years late review??? Chambers not the problem but he doesn’t do himself favours sometimes. I’m not convinced by running of club. That effects players too. Sorry to be negative, can’t help it right now
0

aloanagain added 12:04 - Jul 12
I think that it's most of the players, not just the two who take most of the criticism, who are not good enough. As above how have other teams managed to play decent football with some of the budgets that they have. bringing in 5 or 6 youngsters will not win enough games to get us out of this league, i think as a group they won't be strong/good enough to get us out of this league. The more senior players need to up their game,but who have we got to do that. I fear another bad season ahead.
1

Bluearmy_81 added 12:43 - Jul 12
Alone, agreed. Some here have ridiculously blue tinted glasses whereas the reality suggests no cause for optimism while the club attempts the same failing approach...
0

SouthBucksBlue added 18:46 - Jul 12
I would have thought the conclusion to be blindingly obvious and the review therefore extremely brief.
1

Ipswichtown4life added 02:07 - Jul 13
I sincerely hope for one, they get rid of the dead beats, Chambers has to go.. I've seen him a few times this year, he looks slow, dead on his legs after 50 mins and doesn't put in a decent shift.. Skuse... Your days are numbered.. Nolan.. Don't know why he got a new contract.. He not worth the laces on his boots, who else am I missing..
-1

Razor added 10:31 - Jul 13
Just who is this guy and what qualifications does he have to run our club?

Where did he sudeenly pop up from, talks a good game but look at the results!!

We need Derek Bowden back from Essex cricket, that would be a start.
1


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