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Cook: Fleetwood Performance Not Acceptable But We Are Good Enough to Go Up
Friday, 19th Mar 2021 12:38

Boss Paul Cook admits that performances such as one during Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood are not acceptable but insists the Blues are good enough to go up this season.

Town were as poor as at any time since their relegation to League One at Highbury and might well have been beaten more comfortably by the Cod Army.

Asked whether it was a night on which he learnt a lot about his players, Cook said: “Not particularly, if I’m being truthful. Not particularly but I’ve got to be very careful, I won’t be criticising the players in any shape or form, it’s not something that I like to do in the press.

“I think for managers, dressing rooms and meeting rooms are very important areas because that’s where you get your messages across.

“Our supporters and everyone, they want to hear you say stuff that they can cling to and they can believe in you, that that you’re going to take it forward.

“I think as you guys know, performances like that are not acceptable, not just from Ipswich Town, but from any club that travels away. If you can’t do basic stuff well, then you won’t win football games.”

Cook talked about Town being consistently inconsistent following Tuesday’s match, does he believe that’s down to confidence or mindset?

“I’m going to try my best not to be drawn into it because no different to other inconsistent clubs, we’re in a promotion chase at the minute,” he said.

“The reality is that we don’t want to speak negatively about our team and players. Yes, the consistency of us is our inconsistency.

“One of the things that we do keep highlighting is that we just don’t score enough goals, we don’t create enough chances. And that’s something we have to improve on to win football games.”

The Blues are far from the only club towards the top of the division who are consistently inconsistent. Why does he believe that is the case? Is it down to the frequency of games?

“Do you not think I’ve got enough problems of my own without worrying about every other team?” he joked.

“I think a little bit. I think without a doubt it’s the programme, isn’t it? I think the programme, if you look at our travelling, for example, up to Accrington, which was a demanding one, across to Gillingham, which is a demanding one.

“And we know, historically, like Pompey, Plymouth, these teams, you have to travel. But realistically, if you’re getting back at a five in the morning, the reality is, you know yourselves from late night flights, you don’t feel great for a couple of days, do you? And I’m not making excuses. We travel well, we travel great, we have the best of everything.

“And then you probably get to the standard of player. The brutal reality is that the standard of player as we drop divisions, they are more inconsistent.

“As we climb, you only have to look at the good teams that everyone’s had, you knew what you were getting out of those players, week in, week out.

“Unfortunately for us, like every other team, they probably don’t know what we’re getting out of the players week in, week out.

“And that’s something that has to change over a period of time. We need more consistency in our players’ performances.”

For the first time since he came to the club, Cook will have a full week training with his squad between the visit to Portsmouth tomorrow and the trip to another of his former clubs Wigan the following Saturday.

“Everyone keeps clinging to that for me. If we get beaten in the next two after that one, we’re in trouble, aren’t we?” he laughed.

“You know yourself, I believe you get your habits from your training. Pre-season for football clubs is a massive time because you outline your plans for the future and how we’re going to play.

“This is the first time I’ve probably come into a club in a season with 15 games to go, so as you can imagine, we have contracts up like everyone, we have a lot of lads who aren’t sure about the future.

“We have a lot of fear around the club, and as a manager you’re doing your best to try and shake that fear off so that lads can express themselves in the correct and proper way.”

When will he start to think about contracts for next season? “I think the best clubs are just ongoing daily. I’ve always maintained that. You’re always looking for tomorrow.

“Every club should be looking for tomorrow, whether that’s the manager, the playing staff, the coaching staff, you should be a bright, forward-thinking club.

“For us, the most important thing going forward is the players that can remain with us, that we can take forward with us to be successful because we have to be successful.

“No different than Portsmouth, it’s the same. The fans at these clubs demand success, they clamour for success and it’s down to us to deliver it.”

Has he missed getting the boots on and getting out on the training field putting on drills? “My teams have a clear identity, we have a style of play. It’s hard to implement that at the minute.

“At the minute it’s very much more motivational and demanding and asking questions of players rather than tactical because the games do come that thick and fast, but they’re not excuses.

“I thought we played well against Lincoln and Plymouth. We had two good games on the bounce where you think ‘go on, we’re about to kick-off here’. If we’d have gone up to Fleetwood and won, we’d have been in a great position.

“We could actually have been looking at the top two, thinking ‘Could we? Couldn’t we?’. After the defeat on Tuesday, we probably think we mightn’t get in the play-offs.

“Like I say, none of us know. Just keep working harder, longer, sustaining more pressure on the opposition, showing people how much you do want to achieve something.”

Cook has spoken on several occasions about the Blues’ lack of a goal threat. Will that be a focus of next week’s sessions?

“I do think personnel at clubs are huge and for every club it’s a style of play and I think we’ve probably changed our style of play once or twice this year, for sure, which is also an indication that probably my predecessor Paul Lambert wasn’t comfortable and happy with what the players were doing,” he said.

“For me, I’m very much focused, I believe in what we do. I love the identity being what we can [do], but we mightn’t probably have the actual players to do that at the minute, so going forward we must get the best out of what we’ve got, we must win football games. We go to Pompey tomorrow desperately desiring to win a game of football.”

Cook has no hesitation in insisting Town are good enough to go up: “Yes, without a doubt, 100 per cent, without a shadow of a doubt. Our players are looking for me to lead them, they want to believe that we can go up, I have to give them the confidence to believe, but more importantly, results give you confidence.

“If we can win games quickly, the belief will grow. If we don’t win games, the belief will disappear. That’s what results do to you.”

As well as raising players’ confidence, does he have to do the same with fans? “We’ll do that on the results, won’t we? Danny Cowley going in at Portsmouth now, the supporters will be listening to every breath that he says to get a guide of what the read feel is.

“You make no bones about it, Portsmouth will be wanting to go up this year, without a shadow of a doubt, that’s what they want to do. Because if you get in the play-offs, everything is up for grabs in the play-offs, we all know that.

“For us at a club, we’re searching to find the formula that we believe is our best team, if you like, what our best formation is.

“And that’s something that we’re searching for daily in performances. But the reality for us is that I believe we can go up. I genuinely believe we can get in the play-offs because if you look around the division at the minute, every team seems to be inconsistent really, apart from Hull and Sunderland, two teams who are on great runs.

“When Lincoln left Portman Road recently, I thought they looked an outstanding outfit. They’ve just had two defeats on the bounce.

“This is what the division does to you and obviously the mindset of a supporter will change on a strong week. We need a strong couple of weeks now.”

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Radlett_blue added 12:49 - Mar 19
Most teams are inconsistent in this league because the reality is there isn't that much difference between the squads. Better players will usually be playing at a higher level. That's reflected in this league - no club is nailed on to go up or be relegated, even with 70% of the season gone.

Suffolkboy added 13:08 - Mar 19
Nailed on at every level in his assessments ,his discretion , and his action programme !Lets hope we and the players can and will give him every support .

Ipswichbusiness added 13:33 - Mar 19
He says that there’s a lot of fear around the club. Well so there should be; fear that if you don’t perform you are dropped, fear that you won’t have another contract. Unfortunately, a couple of players seem to be selected for match after match, regardless of performance.

Edmundo added 13:59 - Mar 19
PC is a good manager straight away in my book because he refuses to publicly criticise his team, despite media wanting him to. He will take the defeats personally, no doubt about it, but will be so happy for his players when they win.

norfolkbluey added 14:43 - Mar 19
Until we play two up front I can't see us scoring more than one or two per game. PC talks about partnerships on the pitch well Jackson is the perfect case and the knack is to find him one and surely Norwood should be that player. Having KVY back will surely bring some quality back in crosses into the box so COYB let's get scoring again. Can't wait for Saturday and don't disappoint yet again.

Europablue added 14:57 - Mar 19
It doesn't make sense to say that the players are more inconsistent at this level, they are just at a lower level. If you have outstanding players in the first half of the season they tend to get bought by teams in the higher divisions.

Chrisd added 15:45 - Mar 19
It will be interesting tomorrow against Portsmouth we need a reaction from the players after that poor display at Fleetwood on Tuesday. Portsmouth are now a different proposition to the Portsmouth side from 7 days ago with the Cowley's appointment. Sadly, our squad of players have let us down too many times before to have much optimism and I can see a defeat at Fratton Park, but an improved performance.

TimmyH added 16:23 - Mar 19
and if so bad enough to then go back down...

Agreed not much between quite a few of the sides in this league, the ones at the top are just that bit more consistent, in general though it is relatively poor.

Saxonblue74 added 17:41 - Mar 19
Hate to say it, but don't Norwich have to travel too? Don't buy that I'm afraid. I do feel for him with the job he has in hand, but we've heard this all before.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 18:59 - Mar 19
Cook has to reply to questions because he is at a press conference. It would create a very bad impression if he didn’t do this - or sent someone else in his place. What is the poor guy supposed to say? I think he handles himself cleverly and professionally in these situations, with a touch of humour to connect with the fans. As I said in an earlier post, he should have been a psychologist.

stiffy501 added 20:19 - Mar 19
This squad is average and inconsistent, all of them. If the were not they would not be in league 1, we are here for a reason !!

eddiespearitt03 added 21:27 - Mar 19
Someone needs to say it how it is. Take Chambers , Sears and Skuse out of the equation and watch the results improve. Enough is enough.

johnwarksshorts added 07:42 - Mar 20
Paul Cook knows how to deal with the press, so refreshing.

shakytown added 08:47 - Mar 20
To go up we need to actually score goals and i cant see who is capable of that or creating them. Also we need to defend a whole lt better and have midfield who actually pass the ball to our players and in a forward direction. I n other words we have to massively improve in all areas of the game in a very short period not to mention actually giving 100% every game and showing some ticker.

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