Mills: This is Truly Dragging Its Feet Now
Sunday, 24th Jan 2021 11:50
Blues legend Mick Mills issued a damning assessment of Town’s current situation following Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Peterborough which saw them drop to ninth in the League One table.
Speaking on BBC Radio Suffolk’s post-match phone-in Mills gave his evaluation of the Blues’ present predicament with the defeat to Posh Town’s fifth in six games at home.
Overall, they have picked up just 10 points from their last nine matches, far from promotion form. Since winning five and drawing one of their first six League One games, they have won only five of the following 15.
“I just think that we’ve not been winning games for such a long period now, it’s not been good enough and we’ve been slowly sort of edging away from a position that we really should be in,” Mills said.
“We had that fabulous start to the season and we should have gone on from there but the performances are still a bit edgy, they lack fluency. Every area of the pitch that you try to analyse we haven’t quite got it right.
“The back four is not A1, we’re losing a little bit from the full-back positions that we had early in the season.
“I don’t think Luke Chambers and Stephen Ward are coming onto the game as much as they did. I don’t know whether that’s because they’re losing a little bit of confidence in the centre-half pairings that continue to change. We don’t seem to have a really solid pairing.
“It might be a lack of confidence from the full-back positions in the centre-halves that they’re playing with, but certainly the attacking side of that area of the pitch has gone.
“We saw the three together in the centre of midfield, [Andre] Dozzell, [Teddy] Bishop and [Flynn] Downes, coming together today.
“Again, they’re not quite producing. None of the three were absolutely as individuals on top of their game. Consequently, collectively they weren’t as good as you want them to be.
“And then you’ve got the three attacking players and you’ve got to say they were only OK. And we can’t go on and on and on saying ‘it was OK today, it wasn’t bad’. It’s got to be good.
“I know injuries haven’t been helping matters very much but we’re still, for me, a mile away from having a really fluent team. We’re bits and pieces really.”
Fans have been increasingly scathing in their criticism of manager Paul Lambert and owner Marcus Evans over the last few months and Mills has no problem with that.
“After every game, everybody has got the right to give their opinion,” the 72-year-old former Town and England captain said. “You’ve got to watch it and then make your assessment.
“I see nothing wrong with people coming on [the radio and giving their thoughts]. If they’ve watched the game and they haven’t seen what they want to see, don’t come on and say ‘Oh well, let’s give the manager time after time after time’.
“If they don’t like what they see then they’ve got to say that. A little bit of pressure doesn’t go amiss. I don’t think you’ve got to give people an easy ride whatsoever, that’s inclusive of everybody concerned at the club.
“Don’t give the players an easy ride, don’t give the manager an easy ride, don’t give the coaches an easy ride and don’t give the owner an easy ride because it’s not an easy-ozey game, this is serious stuff, this is professional football and this club is supported by a vast number of people that really care about it.
“I’ve nothing against people coming on and being annoyed, they’ve every right to be annoyed because this is truly dragging its feet now.
“I even made a comment early in the game that what pleased me was that we weren’t looking the inferior side from the start of the game like we have on many occasions when the opposition get their game going best of all.
“That’s such a little thing to expect, to play at home and as soon as that first whistle goes, you should look to pin the opposition back in their own half and you really say to them ‘Right, you’ve made the long journey down here, you feel uncomfortable about this fixture to start with, I’m going to make you feel uncomfortable for the next 90 minutes as well’.
“Have that sort of attitude, that sort of determination, that sort of feeling going through your body.
“But here we were today saying, ‘I like this opening spell because we’re not actually the inferior side’.
“The standards have dropped too much and we’ve got to put pressure on people to raise the standards again because otherwise if you don’t put pressure on people it will just drag and drag along and everybody subconsciously will think ‘Oh, everybody is quite happy with what has happening’.
“People are not happy, we need to get out of this division, we need to be better than Peterborough, we need to be better than Lincoln City.
“These are teams that we’d left behind by an absolute mile years ago, but now they are our equal. So we’ve got to get this show on the road, we really have.
“The game lacked life. OK, we weren’t behind Peterborough but we mustn’t judge ourselves by the opposition all the time. We’ve got to judge our own game - what do you expect from your own team?
“If Peterborough were going to come here and play to the standard they did, we should be above that and say ’Right, thank goodness we’ve met you on a bad day, right we’re going to make you suffer now’, not just run along with it and be as good as them, we’ve got to be better than them.
“It’s just dragging along too much for me, it really is. But there is a lot of time left, there are a lot of points to play for and the one thing about this division this year [is that a lot of teams are still in touching distance].
“Some time ago I said that the right teams had started off well this season and that I was absolutely sure that six of the top eight will be involved in the promotion positions, that was without many games being played.
“And before today’s game, only one of that eight had dropped out of the top eight and that was Sunderland, the team that you didn’t expect to come out and Crewe had gone into that situation.
“The right teams did get off to the right start but it’s not just Ipswich, none of them have really sort of really motored on, none of them have really said ‘Right, we’ve got the start we wanted, now we are really going to drive on well and leave everybody behind. It hasn’t happened.
“There are a lot of teams still in touching distance, so when you look at our position, we had that good start, we haven’t performed very well for a long period of time, but we’re still in touch, so if only it could be ignited, even now, we could get ourselves into a really good position and have a say in the promotion spots at the end of it, but we’ve got to do it.
“Those two who have come in this week [Josh Harrop and Luke Thomas], let’s not start hanging our hats on those two lads because it’s totally unfair.
“They’re two lads who have been available because they haven’t quite done the business at the clubs that own them, so they’re not coming here in absolutely perfect condition and yet already we’re starting to say ‘The lad Thomas looked really good today’, I’ve even said it, but we shouldn't be relying on people that are coming in this month to really ignite the season. Help us, but don’t be the mainstays of it.”
Meanwhile, on-loan Blues trio Janoi Donacien, Adam Przybek and Corrie Ndaba made their debuts for Fleetwood, Chesterfield and Ayr United respectively yesterday.
Donacien was picked as man of the match as the Cod Army drew 1-1 at Wigan Athletic, while keeper Przybek helped the National League Spireites to a 2-1 home victory over Wrexham
Defender Ndaba had had to wait a while for his debut due to postponements but helped the Honest Men to a clean sheet as they drew 0-0 at Dunfermline with the Irish U21 call-up operating at his secondary position of left-back.
Photo: Action Images
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