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Ward: This Can't Continue, It Can't Happen Again
Sunday, 13th Dec 2020 17:33

Left-back Stephen Ward admits Town’s poor record against teams in the top half of the League One table can’t continue, the Blues having been comfortably defeated 2-0 at home by Portsmouth at Portman Road on Saturday.

Former Republic of Ireland international Ward admitted losing to another of the challengers towards the top of League One was a blow, Town having been defeated by Hull City, 3-0, and Charlton, 2-0, in their previous two home matches.

The Blues, who won just twice against teams who finished in the top 10 last season, are yet to beat anyone in the top nine this season having been beaten away by Lincoln, 1-0, Doncaster, 4-1, and Sunderland, 2-1.

“Really disappointed, really, really disappointed. It was a big chance for us to turn over a good team and start the week well,” he said.

“Listen, the lads are really disappointed with how we performed. It just lacked something today. I think we’ve said it before about being a bit more streetwise, a bit tougher.

“It’s not always going to be as easy to play the football we want to play and we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and find that inner belief, that strength to get through these games and make it a lot more difficult [for the opposition] than we have, especially the teams that are up there that we need to be beating and turning over.

“We’ve made it too difficult for ourselves and it’s disappointing. Especially with the fans back in.

“It was great to have them back in and we’re really disappointed that we couldn’t give them a performance and a result that they deserved coming back in after this long.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror, we’ve got to regroup, we’ve got to draw a line under it.

“We’ve had a long discussion in the dressing room. This can’t continue, it can’t happen again. We’ve got to dust ourselves down starting Tuesday [when Burton Albion visit Portman Road] and start afresh and make sure as a team we’re a lot stronger, a lot tougher, we need to show that side of the game a lot more than we have, especially in these types of game.”

Town, who have dropped to sixth, have now gone behind in each of their last eight games aside from the 0-0 draw at Oxford, which the 35-year-old admits is a worry.

“That is concerning,” he said. “We’ve got to look at that, we’ve got to maybe start games differently, whether it’s applying pressure in their half a bit more and getting the ball forward a bit quicker maybe.

“Listen, we had a great start to the season and we’ve lost a lot of players, we’ve got a lot of inexperienced lads coming into the team that are giving it everything, giving it their all, but it is hard sometimes when you come up against seasoned pros in this league that know the nitty-gritty side of it, and that’s what they showed today.

“If you look at their performance, they’ll look at that as a good away performance, solid, they didn’t make anything easy for us. They got their goals when they got them and in the second half they sat in and made it really difficult for us.

“And that’s the side of the game we need to get a bit more of. The lads are learning every day, it’s just about finding that belief that sometimes it’s going to be one of those games where you’re going to have to grind it out and at the minute we just don’t seem to be able to do that.

“And that’s something that we need to work on, as a squad, not as an XI, not as a staff, as a collective.

“The manager said it in there, we’re the only ones that can change it. We’ve got to find that ‘collective-ness’ in terms of being harder to beat because I think on the ball we’re as good as anyone in this league.

“It’s the other side that we need to work on and that’s something that can’t always be given to us by staff, we’ve got to find that ourselves, find that as a team, get back into our shape quicker, make it a lot more difficult. At the minute, it’s just not going for us in that sense.

“On a positive note, it’s still early in the season, there is time to change that. We know we can do it and that has to start Tuesday.

“We’ve got to draw a line under it and we’ve got reflect on our own performance, not just individually, as a team and really start a fresh season in terms of going again from Tuesday.”

Ward was disappointed that the 2,000 fans back at Portman Road for the first time since March weren’t able to celebrate a win.

“It was great to have them back,” he said. “It’s been tough for them and it’s a credit to them how much they’ve supported us in terms of being away from it, it’s not easy.

“It’s not easy for us because we want a passionate crowd here to make it difficult for away teams and I think that’s the most disappointing thing.

“We’ve put on some great performances early in the season at home and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t give them one today.

“But hopefully, we’ve got another game Tuesday, we’ve got to dust ourselves down. You can’t get too high in this game, you can’t get too low, you’ve got to react, you’ve to prove that you can react and you’ve got the stomach for it, and that’s what we need to do come Tuesday.”

Is it a case of going back to basics on Tuesday? “A bit of both really. I think we showed a lot of character last week [in coming from behind to beat Plymouth 2-1 at Home Park] that maybe wasn’t there [against Portsmouth].

“We’ve done a lot of good things this season, we’ve played some really attractive, good football, we’ve ground out results when we’ve had to, especially in the two games off the back of the two defeats, going away to Oxford and away to Plymouth.

“We showed that we have that side, but we need to find that formula to get it altogether and, listen, the basics is a part of football everyone needs and that’s something we need to work on and be a bit better at.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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BettyBlue added 17:36 - Dec 13
Oh yes it can...

Even against the bottom tea in the league.

BettyBlue added 17:36 - Dec 13
Oh yes it can...

Even against the bottom team in the league.

positivity added 17:39 - Dec 13
true betty, look at sunderland v wigan last week...

MrTown added 17:43 - Dec 13
It’s been happening for over 12 months, why would it change now.

Wait until Peterborough next week and you can give the same interview.

Wasn’t it Wardy talking this similar crap after Hull or Charlton game.

Cloddyseedbed added 17:47 - Dec 13
I think you'll find it can and it will. Many years of a gradual decline with absolutely nothing to lift the supporters spirits. Thats ITFC under ME ownership.

RobITFC added 17:52 - Dec 13
Jeeeezzzzussss - deja vu, heard it all before , boring , same old story etc etc . WE ARE FED UP BEING FED THE SAME OLD DROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

herfie added 18:00 - Dec 13
Yes, the road to mid-table obscurity is littered with similar pre/post match statements of intent. There will eventually come a point when supporter reaction will be terminal apathy.

Tired old cliche that it is, but ffs find the actions to match the torrent of words that pour out of PR. To be talking about getting the ‘basics’, and attitudes, right at this point in the season, almost beggars belief. Interesting to hear about PL’s dressing room comments. Are the players totally with him? I have some doubts.

Tractorboy58 added 18:10 - Dec 13
Ward is over the hill and overrated

StavangerBlue added 18:11 - Dec 13
I don't know if it is me looking back at better times but I want a team with a bit of fight. These days we just rollover. I want action, passion, a bit of determination, players shaking things up, trying plan Z if plan A doesn't work. We look slow, pedestrian and unimaginative. Our young team against Fulham looked better than the first team.

That's all I want for Christmas.

Suffolkboy added 18:13 - Dec 13
We all ought to give much more attention and credence to what SW has to say , and how he carefully puts his words together !
This is a mature , uncomplicated professional assessment from the man at the centre on and off the pitch ,backed by very recent years of playing at the top of our domestic game tree .
Most certainly it’s a certainty he is correct : we need more resilience, more physical determination , more belief , a more ‘heads up ‘ and ‘at ‘em ‘ approach right from kick off !
Pretty sure most ardent supporters will be hoping SW can help bring about the changes he champions !

grow_our_own added 18:26 - Dec 13
It can and will happen again. We have a manager who seriously thought that formation and starting 11 could beat one of the top teams. No amount of street-wisdom would have changed the result yesterday. Pompey were in a different league. Lambert out!

tractorboybig added 18:31 - Dec 13

HalesworthBlue7 added 18:35 - Dec 13
Yesterday I called on the fans to put everything to one side and for us to go to Portman Road and try to lift and support the team , not a bad atmosphere before the game , but at no point did we look like getting anything out it . I despair where we go from here , will things improve when the injured are back , will it be to late,something has to change , I honestly don't know if I will apply to go to next home game, has anyone got any encouragement as to why I should.

dukey44 added 18:39 - Dec 13
I take it the fist thumping captain is sulking at mo as he's keeping his mouth shut and opinion to himself? He's been very quiet.... And sending others to talk tosh..

Dockerblue added 18:46 - Dec 13
You are one of the senior players Wardy, stand up and say it to the team. Mick Mills, a proper Captain and leader said on the radio that Pompey were all vocal, encouraging each other etc and our team were almost silent. Time our older players stepped up and helped the younger ones. PL said we weren't very good when we didn,t have the ball, well we weren't,t very good when we did have it either. We all know Lambert has no plan B, well have a plan of your own, mix it up a bit, go long sometimes, we are too slow and predictable.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 19:03 - Dec 13
I'm afraid it can, and I'm afraid it will. COYB!

BlueandTruesince82 added 19:12 - Dec 13
It can, it will. It's been happening for 10 years with increasing frequency to the point where it is now a bi-weekly event that keeps better time than Paul Lamberts rolex

ArnieM added 19:24 - Dec 13
Problem is though , it WILL happen again , as long as PL is manager of this squad . He’s unable to change his ways .

Nobbysnuts added 19:38 - Dec 13
Don't worry wardy I'm now following the tractor girls....much better team....and a winning mentality 👍👍👍

Steve_D added 19:44 - Dec 13
Problem is , owner doesn't care , manager doesn't care , players don't care , half the so called supporters don't care either , happy clappers and apathy rule

dirtydingusmagee added 19:51 - Dec 13
no disrespect to Ward , but he drew the short straw , and was given the task of convincing the fans that it will all get better [ one day ] But its been rolled out sooooo many times iots as regular as breakfast, Fans dont believe that things will change, that lessons have been learned its always been empty words. So sorry Wardy. it can and will happen again and i fear we wont have to wait too long either.

ThaiBlue added 19:57 - Dec 13
That must be the last page in the book on players talking bow locks at ipswich,fed up.

dirtydingusmagee added 19:58 - Dec 13
Tractorboy58 , that is your opinion and others probably share that, im not disagreeing entirely BUT Ward was brought into the team he didnt force the club at gunpoint, its not his fault he rightly would want to play, and if offered the chance why wouldnt he take it. Its down to Evans and Lambert .

dirtydingusmagee added 19:59 - Dec 13
wish we could put the girls out against Burton we would at least have a team of battlers and a chance of a win .

bobble added 20:01 - Dec 13
propaganda makes no sense when we observe reality and actual evidence.

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