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Woolfenden: We’ve Got to Start Playing to People’s Strengths
Sunday, 10th Jan 2021 11:56

Central defender Luke Woolfenden believes the Blues need to start playing more to their players’ strengths following the 3-2 defeat to his former loan side Swindon at Portman Road.

Woolfenden, who spent 2018/19 on loan with the Robins, felt Town began Saturday's live Sky game reasonably enough.

“To be fair, I think we started well, then I think we kind of went away from what we were doing,” he said.

“We had a lot of the ball but we do that every week, we need to start being creative in the final third and putting our possession to use.”

He added: “I think halfway through [the first half], we changed what we were doing, there were times where we were pressing in ones and twos and then we’d all press and then we’d drop off, and that can happen in games.

“But you’ve got to go in there with a clear mindset and know what you’re doing from the start.”

Asked whether the 25-day break for Covid and the virus itself had had an impact on those who had tested positive, the 22-year-old reflected: “Obviously that can affect anyone, I can’t speak for everyone about that, but for me I felt fine, I felt good, ready to go.

“It has been a while since we’ve played, but that’s no excuse, the fans deserve us to start putting in performances, start scoring goals, start keeping clean sheets, all of that.”

Swindon went into the game 23rd in the table with the win taking them up a place and Woolfenden says Town should be defeating most of the teams in the division, let alone those in the relegation spots.

“We’re Ipswich, I think we should be expecting to beat the majority of teams in this league,” he insisted.

“Or at least make it harder for teams to score, make them make last-ditch blocks and last-ditch tackles and things like that. Today, it just kind of floated by a bit.”

Town improved after the break following the half-time introduction of Flynn Downes and James Norwood, and after the striker’s 62nd minute goal the Blues might have looked favourites to go on and win the match.

“Maybe that’s a mindset thing as well, maybe we got the equaliser and we thought we’d just do what we did at Plymouth [when Town came from a goal down to win 2-1]. But you’ve got to earn the right to win games and we didn’t do that.”

The game was turned back in the Robins’ favour by Scott Twine’s 30-yard wonder strike five minutes after Norwood’s leveller.

But Woolfenden says Town knew all about the forward’s ability to score from distance having watched his goals during his loan spell at Newport, while he and Aaron Drinan both played alongside the 21-year-old at Swindon and Waterford respectively.

“I think he could have a goal of the season contest by himself, couldn’t he, that kid.” Woolfenden said.

“He was at Swindon when I was there. The frustrating thing is that we all knew that he’s got that in his locker. We’ve watched it on the video numerous times, I’ve seen all of his goals on Twitter.

“There is an aspect that when it’s struck like that there’s not really a lot you can do once it’s struck but before that you’ve got to get tighter, you’ve got to make sure he can’t turn.”

Regarding the third goal when Diallang Jaiyesimi’s left-wing cross made its way into the corner of the net, he added: “It’s disappointing, you’ve got to be tighter in the box. It’s those little inches that we’ve got to do.

“If you want to go up you’ve got to do them and at the minute we’re not, we haven’t been doing it for the past however many games.”

Woolfenden says the Blues are much better in training than they’re currently showing in matches.

“I think that’s the frustrating thing,” he said. “In training we train well, some of the football we play in training is unbelievable, but if you can’t put it out on a Saturday or a Tuesday night, it’s worthless.

“But I think we’ve got to start playing to people’s strengths, we had Nors on at the end and it wasn’t hitting him enough until the end. He was putting centre-backs on their arses and causing carnage and all sorts, so we’ve just got to start playing to people’s strengths.”

Woolfenden is pleased to have Norwood and Downes back from their injuries.

“I think when he’s fit and when he’s on it, he's a massive handful, that’s for sure,” he said of Norwood, whose goal was his first in the league since February last year.

“His movement, he’s aggressive, he’s not the biggest but he wins 90, 95 per cent of the balls in the air. We’ve got to make use of it.”

“When Flynn’s in there, we’re a totally different team, we have the legs to press, the energy and the aggression in there.

“I think Flynn was a big miss but now he’s back, hopefully he can stay fit and put that injury behind him and we’ll get the rewards for that.”

And Town have five more players closing in on their returns from injury with Kane Vincent-Young, Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan, Teddy Bishop and Keanan Bennetts all due to join the squad for training on Monday.

“That was the benefit of the break, a few boys are now only a couple of days or a week away from being up for training with the lads,” he said.

“Listen, when our squad’s fully fit and firing, it’s probably one of the best in the league, if not the best, so we need to starting showing that out there.

“When everyone’s back, no time for excuses, we can’t have that ‘Oh, we’ve got a few players out’, that should become a load of bollocks then.

“When everyone’s fit, there’s nothing to hide behind, we’ve all got to go. And we need to start showing that against Burton next week.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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DurhamTownFan added 12:01 - Jan 10
One of the most honest interviews you’ll see from a footballer. I am sure that our manager is now extremely paranoid over the comments, and will probably drop him for the next game or two. But if people don’t call out the management and other players for completely failing to live up to what they should be able to deliver, then it’s a good thing.

I hope that Woolfenden himself will probably admit that he hasn’t been at his best this season, but a little bit more honesty like this is welcome.

Seems so fed up with the current situation. I wonder how many other players have given up? Quite a few of you look at how little confidence we have in forward areas!

Sad thing is that there were a few bright sparks in the second-half yesterday. But we just seem to be bad at both ends at the moment!

Mark added 12:08 - Jan 10
Playing to the strengths of the players we have is surely the number one ask of any manager. If we can't even do that, no wonder we are in such a mess. Utterly depressing.

MrTown added 12:13 - Jan 10
“ But you’ve got to go in there with a clear mindset and know what you’re doing from the start.”

My lord that is damning on the coaching staff.


BettyBlue added 12:32 - Jan 10
at any other football club we'd have sacked the manager.

we don't need players opinions, we need action

lambert sacked now.

ArnieM added 12:36 - Jan 10
“We’ve “ ..,,,got to start playing to peoples strengths ....... or Lambert has to start playing to peoples strengths ??

The devils in the detail ....

buzbyblue added 12:44 - Jan 10
Why haven't they been sacked yet?

heathen66 added 12:46 - Jan 10
Mmm...Lambert is not going to like that. I expect Luke will be dropped very soon
Surely this is the responsibility of the manager and his staff, picking the best 11 to play as a team and not shoehorn players in to positions where they are not effective.
Underperforming senior pros play week in week out no matter what
Look when Leicester won the league (and even now) where they were not the best players in the league, but were all played in their best positions that benefited the TEAM.
Signings have been made with no picture how they are going to fit in.
Woolfenden has admitted the team are not playing to our strengths and 4-5-1 (4-1-4-1) is not our strength, but Lambert like McCarthy before him continues to persist until we do win almost as if to say I told you so.
Changes are needed in the Clubs mindset as well as the players and that should start NOW imo, before it is too late

positivity added 13:00 - Jan 10
woolfenden player-manager till the end of the season!

MarinersMane added 13:13 - Jan 10
Brave to speak out!
Probably dropped against Burton.
On another matter we can’t play 4-4-2 because we’re hopeless and just play long ball!
Isn’t that what we were doing yesterday with one up front?!?
Surely with two up we’ve more chance of keeping the ball up that end.
Yesterday we were hopeless defending particularly the full backs and had no threat up front particularly first half, that’s just a recipe for failure.

MickMillsTash added 13:15 - Jan 10
We've got to stop conceding soft goals
Anyone convinced that we have a central defensive partnership at the club capable of getting us in the top 6 ?

OldClactonBlue added 13:20 - Jan 10
I'm beginning to wonder if we have many players with any strengths.

Westy added 13:24 - Jan 10
Is he voicing his frustration at the tactics Lambert is employing ?

MonkeyAlan added 13:29 - Jan 10
How is Lambert still here getting away with this? Evans you muppet.

CraigEdwards added 13:33 - Jan 10
Surely you should play to your strengths every time they put the shirt on !

cat added 13:40 - Jan 10
Agree Heathen66 both those formations don’t work. I’d like to see the 4:2:3:1 again which was funnily enough used by Hurst in his short here, with 4 at the back, one holding and one more offensive midfielder in front giving additional cover to our weak back line, then a 3 in front who are capable of breaking with pace, feeding a typical no9 up top.
KVY, Wilson, Woolf ward,
Downes & Huws or Nolan
Edward’s, teddy & Jackson

DifferentGravy added 13:43 - Jan 10
Agree with Woolfy. - the tactics/formation/player positions are negatively impacting the entire squad and Jackson/Huws/Dobra/Drinian really struggled with them yesterday. Dozzell is clearly a good passer of the ball but his role in the team is baffling. He is a creative player........but playing as a defensive midfielder!?! The amount of times he sat just in front of Woolfy/Mcguiness......yet Swindon only had one player to mark. Apart from a few through balls, Dozzell basically just passed it from side to side.

Our build up is predictable, slow and we create so very few chances. Hardly any players dribbling with the ball, taking players on, one-twos, players in the box. Only when Norwood came on did we look threatening because he ran in behind the defence, got in dangerous areas and gave Judge a target to aim for. Imagine if we had two targets to aim for!?!

A better manager.....any other manager..... would surely have thrown the kitchen sink at the opposition, tried 2 /3 up front, gone more direct......whatever it takes to get a result. Any other manager would see that the tactics/formation/player positions are not working.... week in week out.

I am STILL of the opinion that we have a good enough side to get promoted.....but not under this arrongant, stubborn manager

Les57 added 14:04 - Jan 10
On this and every post or feed I see, the same comments keep coming up.
“We need to change it before it is too late” believe me, it’s too late already. This season is over.

tetchris added 14:11 - Jan 10
Future captain for me when chambo and skuse leave at the end of the season, assuming they do?

runningout added 14:27 - Jan 10
We are not professional and as said by someone lacking any creativity, leadership and know how. Stick a camera here and there and our jokers are there for the taking, more concerned about hair and tatts (like quite a few, not real pro’s) Burton will have no issues in roughling our sorry feathers. No point in quoting what we should have done or Should do. Changes are a must but won’t happen at our Sorry club

chepstowblue added 14:43 - Jan 10
The player that makes the statement does so in a vain attempt to remove himself from blame. I'm at a loss to know what our strengths are. I dont mind passing football, but not the way we do it. It's like walking football i see advertised for over 60's. I'm surprised we're surviving at this level, because on a weekly basis I'm seeing no worse team than us.

Saxonblue74 added 14:59 - Jan 10
It's just so dull! I'm not interested in watching 5 yard passes sideways and backwards for 90 minutes! I'm still convinced we have creative players that are being stifled by this awful style of football. I actually find myself longing to see some long balls pumped up to 2 centre forwards! Anything to create a chance! When was the last time we saw wingers taking defenders on and swinging in a cross from the byeline? Oh how I'd love to see a Romeo Zondervan style performance from somebody!

Bert added 15:00 - Jan 10
..... are you listening Lambert ? The clue is in feeding Norwood.

jonju11 added 15:36 - Jan 10
Having watched Crawley Town beat Leeds I hope our team & the MANAGER should take note what teamwork, energy & positive play is all about. To a man we would have been proud to have had them as our team No swanning around, passing backwards, giving up just looking like they all belonged to one another. No sniggering or laughing & looking joyful for losing a game. What we need is a group of fighters for one another the spirit showed by Judge (at last) & Norwood yesterday. Come on Blues get real & earn your corn.

GrimReaper66 added 15:37 - Jan 10
What really frustrates me is that I paid £10 to watch that game. I appreciate that my money goes towards supporting the club that I have loved for over 40 years and I don't mind that if we had put up some kind of display. But, what really annoys me is the fact that the players were laughing after an appalling defeat. Yes, my £10 does not go far but it makes me feel like they are just sticking a finger up to me.

TractorFrog added 15:43 - Jan 10
I also see Luke Woolfenden as a future captain of Ipswich Town. He proved his loyalty in the summer by signing that extension, despite the interest from clubs higher up the football pyramid, and he clearly cares about the club. The interview reminded me of Chambers, who is a brilliant captain, and I think Woolfenden could be his successor.

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