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Fleetwood Town 2 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 16th March 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Cook: To Play For This Club, You Have to Carry a Little Bit More Weight on Your Shoulders
Tuesday, 16th Mar 2021 22:43

Boss Paul Cook admitted that his side had put in a “really poor performance” as they were beaten 2-0 at Fleetwood Town and says his players need to “carry a little bit more weight” on their shoulders.

Goals from ex-Town loanee Callum Connolly and Ged Garner saw the Cod Army to a deserved victory.

“The last thing the supporters need to hear is me coming on saying adjectives that can describe a really difficult night for us, a really poor performance,” Cook said. “I’m sure you can come on and you can say so many things when you play like that. To say we’re disappointed is an understatement. To say we’ve got to be better is a given.

“As I’ve just said to the players after the game, we have to be better. To play for this club, you have to carry a little bit more weight on your shoulders because every time you play against opposition, they are bang up for beating Ipswich Town in this league.

“Not different than the Sunderland lads have it probably, no different probably than the Pompey lads.

“And if you dip short on performance, you get beat. And we’re finding that out to our cost at the minute.”

Is that pressure weighing too heavily on the players’ shoulders? “No, you’re not going to drag me into comments that I don’t [want to make]. I just think tonight we got beaten fair and square, we were second best all over the pitch and sometimes you’ve got to take that as a manager.”

Asked why the display was so poor following Saturday’s home win against Plymouth and an impressive first 20 minutes against the Pilgrims, Cook said: “I think if you look at our consistency this season, it probably wasn’t a surprising performance.

“I think we’re quite consistently inconsistent, aren’t we? That’s something as a manager you don’t like. You want a level performance out of players.

“Conceding goals after six minutes away from home, in the three games I’ve watched, Accrington, Gillingham and Fleetwood, you give yourselves mountains to climb away from home.

“If you look back, it was probably only the Accrington sending off that saved us because that game took a very similar pattern to this.

“There’s so much work to be done, I really look forward to getting my teeth into the work. But, like I said to the players, I really am looking for lads that I can see signs of life in and trust, where you go ‘yeah, you can be part of a club and a team that takes us forward’.

“They’ve all got that opportunity at the minute and certainly one or two didn’t play like that tonight, that’s for sure.”

More work than he expected? “No, not at this football management game, if it was easy we’d all be doing it, wouldn’t we?

“We’ve got to stay with these players, that’s my plea to our supporters watching difficult nights like tonight. Managing’s tough because you really do get worked up inside and I can be quite hot-headed with the best of them.

“But on this run-in now, we don’t have time for negativity, we can only have positivity because we have an excellent chance of still achieving something that, albeit tonight as we drive home - and it will sink in with the players - it feels distant. But it’s not distant it really is within touching distance.”

So no need for harsh words? “Oh no, I wouldn’t say that, I think there are harsh words in dressing rooms, I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do in the press because I think the players, for whatever reason now, if you look back 18 months to the relegation, not going up last year for whatever reason, this season similar.

“Sometimes the players have probably heard negativity and conversations from Paul Hurst, Paul Lambert and Paul Cook because the reality is that’s what the performances have been offering up. We’ve got to change that as a group of people and a group of men.”

Cook dismissed the suggestion that injured pair James Norwood and Flynn Downes were missed.

“We didn’t miss them Saturday when we won, did we?” the Blues boss responded. “Flynn went off and James wasn’t there, but you always miss players and this is something we’ve got to get away from - the minute you lose a game now players who haven’t played become better players, and that’s not right.

“The lads who started tonight had earned that right. Cole Skuse came in who is an excellent player, has been an outstanding servant to the club.

“And because we have a disappointing night we can’t just look to say that people who weren’t here should have been here and should have been playing.

“The team that was picked tonight was comfortably good enough to win the game for Ipswich Town.”

Quizzed on whether Myles Kenlock, who was subbed in the second half, had a particularly tough evening. Cook said he could have replaced plenty of other players, as he could have done in the Blues’ previous away game.

“At Gillingham away, no different than tonight, I could have made four or five substitutions at half-time,” he said.

“But as well as trying to get promoted, I’m also trying to find out about the character and the players, and that can be tough for a manager because while you want to help them and make changes, sometimes it’s only in adversity you find out about people.

“We go through adversity one week and pleasure the next, if you like. And that’s not fair on the supporters, that’s not fair on everyone.”

Questioned on whether Norwood, who has been suffering from back spasms, has got a chance for the weekend, Cook joked: “You can’t ask me three questions about James Norwood, you’ve asked me two and now you want to get three in! I think the cleaners at the training ground have got a chance of playing on Saturday the way we played, so there you go, live with that one.”

Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson was delighted with his side's performance.

“I thought we were very good tonight, there were some really good elements to our game, we were positive, and we made a really quick start with and without the ball. We got in their faces and never allowed them to settle," he told his club's official website.

“They have some good players, who with time on the ball they can really hurt you, but we never allowed them to do that because when we had possession with the ball, we were very composed and used it really well.

“Our shape was really good, and we pressed them in certain areas, we dropped off when we needed to and we mixed up our game really well. Overall it was a really good collective performance.”

Photo: TWTD

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Radlett_blue added 22:53 - Mar 16
More sense from Cook. Tonight's performance was awful & he's right that as one of the "big 3" in this league, we have to be strong enough not to be bullied as other teams will be motivated against us. Good that there are no excuses & that he doesn't criticise players in public, even those who have had a stinker. He also sees something wrong at the club after the dismal relegation & the failures to get in the promotion mix last season & this. I don't think things are really going to change until he has a huge clear out in the summer.

Mark added 22:54 - Mar 16
Paul Cook sees the size of the task ahead of him, if he didn't already. We lack physicality, leadership, pace and firepower. We were totally out played by Fleetwood, a town with a population smaller than Portman Road's capacity! We need a rebuild in the summer. I think Cook is the ideal manager to do that, and I can only hope he gets backed in the transfer market.

DifferentGravy added 22:55 - Mar 16
I was so annoyed after that performance.......but Cooks words have actually calmed me down lol. Speaks sense. I just hope you follows through with what he is saying.

Only gripes are if the manager recognizes early in the game that the opposition are going direct/bullying us(like tonight, Gills and Ac Stanley) then you really need to counteract it. Either by getting more men forward and around the ball for our direct play(force the oppo back).....or simply change personnel before its too late.........Jackson cannot play up front on his own.

ArnieM added 22:55 - Mar 16
Paul Cook is starting to put that writing on that wall for so many of the players at this Club. They are playing NOW for their Town careers, and many can’t even see it.

Roll on the summer . Clear out the bloody lot of ‘em !

Bert added 22:57 - Mar 16
Diplomatic leadership from Paul Cook. He says it as he sees it. No nonsense. No looking back. No blaming this and that. No public outburst. Mind you, if we did manage promotion this year, he will need a clear out and investment whoever the owner may be.

Norwichbeater added 22:57 - Mar 16
Let’s see what happens. The players seem to be the ones running the club and letting previous managers down. Lambert had loads of enthusiasm at the beginning didnt he. Look where that ended. I just want to see something a bit different tactically. The formation and tactics haven’t changed yet under cook and the old school seem back in favour again. Perhaps that is where the problem lies.

TrueBlueSince72 added 22:57 - Mar 16
Well at least he's said it pretty much as it is. He's not going to call out individual players in public and nor should he.
Lots of work to be done in the preparation for next season as he begins to shape us into the team he wants us to be.
Good luck and welcome to Portman Road Mr Cook!!

cromwellblue added 22:58 - Mar 16
In every post match interview you can read between the lines and tell he’s less than impressed with this bunch of players.

It’s time we all accepted they are not good enough and we need some changes. Promotion this season is unlikely and would probably be a bad thing as we’d have zero chance at Championship level.

There is a huge job to do and I believe this guy gets it. We are going to need to be patient while he figures out who can be made good enough and who needs to be shipped out.


TimmyH added 22:58 - Mar 16
“I think we’re quite consistently inconsistent, aren’t we? - That about sums us up! and seems like we're losing to the smaller clubs more consistently this season compared to last...At least Mr Cook seems to be straight talking, if he can get us into the play-offs he should see it as a positive, personally I feel we'll bottle it.

eddiespearitt03 added 22:59 - Mar 16
Sadly, Paul Cook has got to go through the same emotions as all the previous managers trying to get a tune out of this squad. If only he knew how emotionally wrecked the supporters are under the diabolical regime of Marcus Evans and the gutless characters clinging to this club dragging it down with typical sub-standard performances. By the end of the season we can only hope Cooky has wised up to who the players are who need to be released. Surely Evans must know by now.

RobITFC added 23:00 - Mar 16
Do any of the cleaners know how to score ?

EricGatesShinpad added 23:02 - Mar 16
Fair comments from PC. Clearly gets the enormity of the task ahead.
I was angry about the abject effort more than anything else. My concern is that it will soon be apathy.... if the highly paid players can't be bothered, why should I? I wonder how many others feel this way?

The summer can't come soon enough to get rid of 75% of these wage thieves....

itfchorry added 23:02 - Mar 16
Play Offs - still very much open to us -

However- We are not ready for the Championship.

DoseOfReality added 23:02 - Mar 16
Sounds like the start of Lamberts reign .. only one common denominator MARCUS EVANS .. get out of our club .. in 2 yrs after we’ve huffed & puffed our way closer to lge 2 everyone will call for cooks head .. EVANS IS KILLING THE CLUB .. it won’t change till he’s gone

madmouse1959 added 23:05 - Mar 16
Message to Paul Cook. This was not a one off dismal performance. It has been with us for many seasons. Even the player/s who are considered "leaders" or "senior in rank" are letting this team down season after season. We just hope Paul Cook can eradicate this apathy.

Norwichbeater added 23:06 - Mar 16
Eddiespearitt03 that was probably the best description of our current situation that I have ever heard. It couldn’t be summed up any better.

Timefliesbyintheblue added 23:10 - Mar 16
Well tonight we were taken to the cleaners, so yes give 'em a go. I am very rarely openly critical, but tonight we were fortunate to get nil!
The only good thing to come out of this is that this could and should be the turning point. Remember this date - it could be we have reached a pivotal moment.
Thank you Mr Cook for your honest and forthright appraisal. From now on there will be no hiding place.

pazzy added 23:10 - Mar 16

WhoisJimmyJuan added 23:15 - Mar 16
Agree Edfiedpearrit as well. Paul Cook has been successful every where he has been. This squad of players are far too comfortable losing. Major clear out is needed so we can get some players in who have actually grown a pair.

Suffolkboy added 23:16 - Mar 16
No hiding , no blame cast, no shaming of individuals BUT honest , plain unvarnished truths about the overall performance ; with more than a hint he expects better ,and expects players to shoulder responsibility and accept accountability .
He will succeed ,let’s give him and the team every encouragment !

Umros added 23:34 - Mar 16
Like the man says, if you wanna play, play, if not it’s chop chop chop pre Madonna’s !
Encouraging to hear he’s already forming opinions, 2/3 probably out of club tonight just on that one performance .....keep cutting that dead wood Paul. Looking forward to the summer free giveaway....

Vanisleblue2 added 23:41 - Mar 16
Too many players getting a cushy ride and cushy pay check, thinking they are untouchable.
Saying they are playing for their futures at ITFC is way too late for me. The inconsistencies of almost all of them means they can go and play in a 3,000 seat stadium next season at their HOME Ground.
I never want to hear that "Blank wanted in more" That is NEVER acceptable

littlestoneblue added 00:05 - Mar 17
Right say Paul Cook has a really good clear out come the end of the season, we currently have a squad of nearly 40 ?? that needs trimming to 17 max, and of that 17 that remain and that will include new players coming in to build a decent hard working squad.
We will still have the incumbency of our owner, who refuses to allow our manager to bring in and finance the quality players needed, this my friends is the main stumbling block, and has been for 14 years, so until the ownership changes, nothing will change at Ipswich Town FC

blueboy1981 added 00:15 - Mar 17
Honest words - from an honest competent Manager who will sort the malingerers out -and make no mistake there are some who need to grow a pair, or hop it !
Writing is on the wall for players after tonight - buy in, or get out, now or at the end of the season.
Enough is enough.

62WasBest added 01:00 - Mar 17
I think most of these players have found their level. If not, then they need to go out and prove it to Cook and the fans. Any sentiment has to go out the window. Nobody can improve their performances until they have some pride in the club, so the ball is firmly in their court. It'll be interesting to see who has the backbone to take the criticism by the scruff of the neck and who just shrugs their shoulders.

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