|Burton Albion 0 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 16th January 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Taylor: Good, Solid, Professional Performance
Saturday, 16th Jan 2021 19:06
Town assistant boss Stuart Taylor hailed a solid professional performance by the Blues as Mark McGuinness’s goal beat Burton Albion 1-0 at the Pirelli Stadium.
The centre-half nodded the winner in the 73rd minute of a tight, scruffy game against the division’s bottom side in which chances at both ends were rare.
“In short I thought it was a really good, solid, professional performance,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t going to be a pretty game purely because of the team we were playing against and the condition of the pitch. It was good to get a win because now we can mention things like that.
“I thought the lads really applied themselves well going into the game, training’s been really good this week, there’s been a lot of challenges put out there and the lads have stood up to them, as e knew they would and it was good just to rectify what happened last week [the 3-2 home defeat to Swindon].
“They were disappointed within themselves and we asked them to respond and respond well, and they did that.”
It was a tight game which could have gone either way: “Fine margins, that’s what the league’s going to be like, it’s going to be very close. What did I think of the game? It wasn’t too much different from what I expected, it was going to be a battle, it was going to be hard-fought game, it was going to be a case of picking up second balls, challenging for every ball, matching runners, really doing the ugly side of the game and being sot on with it.
“Burton are a very strong and physical side, they’re fighting for their lives to go and win games and get up the table. They had an incredible win against Gillingham last week and we knew it was going to be a tough game.
“It was really important that we matched that and also showed the composure to get the ball down and play and try and impose ourselves on the game. It wasn’t easy to do that, the pitch was heavy but we just spoke about that and spoke about how were going to play when out of possession.”
Taylor and manager Paul Lambert had been critical of their team’s performance against the Robins, particularly out of possession, however, he felt they were much better on that side of the game today.
“It was very easy to come out and say last week they’ve not played for 25 days, that they were rusty,” Taylor said regarding last week’s match.
“But we don’t want to go down that road of making those excuses. There was a lot of facts there too, the first half wasn’t acceptable and we took it on the chin and moved on from it and we asked the lads to go and respond and we knew we’d get the right response this week.
“Training’s been fantastic and today, it was going to be a tough game because they’ve made quite a few signings and we didn’t know exactly the personnel they were going to put out but we did know the type if game it was going to be and the style of football that was going to be played.
“As much as everybody knows we want to go and play football and get the ball down and pass it, I thought we stood up to the out of possession aspect of it.
“I thought our press was really good, I thought our shape was really good, I thought our aggression to go and win first and second balls was brilliant and we did the dirty side of the game really, really well. We were matching runners. It was just a horrible game that the lads stood up to very well.
“We asked them to show that composure when we did win the ball back and at times we did that, which was pleasing.”
Taylor admitted it was a victory which was needed: “I think at Ipswich you always need the win, when you’re at Sunderland you always need the win, that’s just the pressure that comes with the club, that comes with the job.
“It is unrealistic to win every game, we understand that as well, but certainly today was a very big result for us because we wanted to fix last week and the performance was really important.
“We said to them that if you get the right performance, more often than not you’ll get the right result and today was certainly one of those games where that was the case.”
While Town won, they again hardly peppered the opposition goal with shots. Quizzed on whether that was a concern, Taylor said: “Today? Not at all. It was never going to be a game where there was going to be fluent football and you’re going to be able to cut them open.
“They’re a team that are fighting at the bottom understandably, and they were going to make it ugly and difficult for us. They put in a 4-5-1 and it was up to us to try and break that down.
“When you’re playing against a side that do go and break up the play when you do get on the attack and they’re hard to break down, it’s always going to be difficult to create an abundance of chances.
“We were happy with certain aspects, where we were getting the ball into key areas. In the first half, we could have got better quality crosses into the box beating the first man, but on the other side of that, we could have had someone running across the front man, so there are different ways to look at it.
“But certainly the biggest challenge today was going to be the out of possession side of the game, not getting to get dragged into the fight. It was important that we won the fight but it was also really important that we showed that composure to try and play.”
He says the win gives a platform to build on: “Of course it does and that was the thing coming out of last week. It was a case of rectifying it and showing everybody what we can do.
“Coming away from home, especially to Burton, keeping a clean sheet and getting a 1-0 result is fantastic, especially with the way the league is going this season. Everybody can see people are dropping points all over the place and it’s very, very close.
“I think the league will continue to be like that for as long as it plays out for, that teams are going to drop points, teams are going jump over each other, teams will slide back down and it’s going to be like that for the rest of the season and I think it’s going to be a little bit of a roller-coaster.”
Taylor was also pleased with the clean sheet, Town’s first in the league in five games: “Great, I’m always delighted to get a clean sheet. I do like to think I’m quite attack-minded, but I always want a clean sheet every time we play. It’s a good base to build on.
“I think sometimes a 1-0 is better than a 5-0 because you’re seeing the game out and you’re showing that strength and defensive qualities. It was really pleasing to get one today.”
Town made six changes with keeper Dai Cornell and centre-half Luke Woolfenden among those to drop out, however, Taylor says that wasn’t as the pair had let standards slip.
“I don’t think it’s anything like that,” he continued. “The manager’s made the call and I don’t really want to single anybody out but Toto I thought was solid, the tackle he made in the first half when the lad was through inside the penalty box was second to none, and Chambo’s block in the first half was fantastic as well. It just shows you the strength in the defence.
“I don’t really want to pick out anybody too much, but there was a lot of good defensive play today and a lot of good out-of-possession stuff. The clean sheet’s always pleasing and we can build on that.”
Regarding Chambers’s block from Charles Vernam just before half-time, Taylor felt it was a big moment in the game: “It was. I think there was a huge amount of luck on their behalf because I think it might have been Gwion or Wardy that stopped the initial cross coming in and it’s taken a deflection and flipped over.
“Tomas thought it was going out but it managed to clip off the bar and Chambo was in the right place to throw himself in front of it, which was great.
“But looking at the chances we had, I think Gwion had a tap-in, I don’t know how he managed to miss it in the second half. We spoke about it and laughed about it after the game, which is fine, laughing about it then because we got the result but certainly things could have been different.
“We didn’t have an abundance of opportunities, I think that was their only opportunity and we had quite a few more that we could have done better with but on a realistic note, we deserved to win the game.”
Taylor felt it was an ideal match in which to recall Nsiala: “I think it was a good call from the manager to bring him back in in this type of game. I thought he and Mark McGuinness were standouts, I thought the two of them were solid against a good striker who has a presence [Kane Hemmings].
“I thought when crosses came into the box our positional sense was really good, defensively they were spot on and did their job really, really well, They were a tower of strength for us at the back and it’s really important to have that.
Back after injuries were Teddy Bishop and Gwion Edwards, while Flynn Downes and James Norwood joined them in the starting XI having been subs last week.
“I thought they were excellent,” Taylor said. “When you look at how long Flynn’s been out for. We know how athletically strong and how fit he is, it’s crazy to think we never doubted that he would play the 90 minutes because he’s an incredibly fit lad.
“Bish came off and Bish was still strong but it was a tactical change. Gwion being back in is brilliant, along with Nors. It’s just great to have the lads back. In training this week, we’ve had near enough full numbers. It’s just good to have all the lads back and fit and ready to go and play.”
He added: “It’s a case of keeping them fit now, keeping a healthy squad. I think that’s going to be a big factor for every team because of what we’ve come back off [the long break during the first lockdown] and the season we’re into.
“I think the halfway point is February 1st and we’ve got a full half a season to play in three months, which is incredible. But it is what it is, we can’t go on about it and it is really important that we keep everybody fit.”
Taylor replaced manager Lambert on post-match media duties as his boss is still not 100 per cent after suffering with Covid-19.
“He’s still struggling,” Taylor said. “He was sitting in the dugout for most of the game, I think he got up twice, which isn’t like him, as everybody knows. He’s usually full of beans and energy. He was still finding it tough, hence you’re stuck with me.”
He says the victory will give Lambert a boost: “Of course, it’s great for everybody, not just the staff and players, it’s great for the supporters as well.
“At the end of the day that’s what football’s all about, we’re all in it together, as we’ve always said and it’s great to go and get a win for the supporters and the football club.”
Burton manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was pleased with his side's display, if not the result.
“The performance on its own was very good – better than Gillingham [where they won 1-0 last week] overall, only the result was different,” he told the Brewers official site.
“We didn’t give them anything at all, only one chance in the whole game.
“In the second half we should have scored. We were the better team, in the first half as well and there was a very good block by Chambers on a shot from Vernam or we might have been 1-0 at half-time.
“We played against a very good team that we made look quite ordinary.
“We need a bit more quality in the final third, more shots and a better end product. That’s what we have to work on a little bit more.”
Reflecting on Town's goal, he added: “It took a deflection, which set Lucas [Akins] at the back post a little bit off.
“It’s very disappointing as we shouldn’t have given the free-kick away. That’s where it starts. We should have won a header on the 18-yard line, from that it went wide and we gave away a free-kick so that was disappointing.”
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