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.”
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 278 bloggers
Here We Go by tractorboykent
For a club recently described as Britain’s unhappiest, it may seem odd that Town fans are suddenly awash with optimism now that the deal is done.
One of the Strongest Squads? by NormEmerges
I keep hearing that ITFC has one of the strongest squads in League One. It’s certainly true that we have one of the biggest squads, but strongest? I would assume ‘strongest’ to mean ‘includes higher quality players for this league’. What do the facts tell us?
Tractor Boy on a Mission by wadey
As some of you may be aware, we lost our little boy Tyler on 1st April 2012, aged just 15 months old. There was no cause declared and he just passed away in his sleep. Since then, I’ve tried to raise as much money for charity in memory of him.
Damned Lies and Football Statistics? by bluesman
Football is possibly the most observed sport of all time, and there is plenty of statistical information available in the public domain to make some informed observations about clubs and managers, and their performance over the years.
From Marcus's Side of the Fence by essexccc
Most of the thinking, including my own, around the possible sale of the club, has quite naturally focused on the possibilities from the club's and supporters' points of view.
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]