Cook: If You Don't Want to Live With Pressure, Then Don't Be in Football
Thursday, 1st Apr 2021 12:38
Blues manager Paul Cook says players have to live with pressure in football today and that the better ones “grow into those situations”.
The Town squad has come in for significant criticism over the last couple of seasons, which has grown in recent weeks as the Blues have again drifted away from the play-off zone down to 11th in the League One table.
Asked if he expected his players to be stung by such criticism and as a result given additional motivation, Cook said: “It's football today. You've got to live in that world. If we were to win the next two games, what would the same people be saying?
“It's football today. You've got to live with it. If you don't want to live with pressure, then don't be in football.
“It's something that you know that you thrive for. In my opinion, better players grow into those situations.
“Our players have been getting criticised for two years, two and a half years. I'm sure they are well used to it.
“Imagine what a little positivity and a little cuddle would do and a little bit of love for them. That might help the situation over 10 games.
“But fans want to say what fans want to say. I'm sure that a high percentage of Ipswich fans are behind these players now and they know that we can get them promoted this year, and that's what we'll concentrate on.”
He added: “First and foremost when I watch any of my teams play, I always put myself in the position of a fan travelling to the game.
“And the first thing you think about when you’re travelling home is ‘did I enjoy the game?’. Well I haven’t enjoyed many games watching Ipswich, so I know exactly what our fans are going through.
“I’m privileged that I have a chance to do something about it. At the minute, every time I want to make a step forward, I’m making two back.
“So the challenge for me now is not about the future in any shape or form, it’s about Bristol Rovers tomorrow and we’ve got to put a team on that pitch at Portman Road that wins a game of football tomorrow.”
But Town aren't the only ones under pressure, most of the other clubs that see themselves as potential play-off contenders are similarly in stuttering form at present and the Blues are still very much in the hunt.
“As coaches and managers, you now accept it. You know, when people talk about long-term projects, I wonder what they are actually speaking about.
“Ninety per cent of managers now are signing contracts until the end of the season. So it just shows you what's out there for us as a club.
“Negativity comes in ever so quickly now. Players then can shoulder negativity in different ways.
“One of the ways that I'd criticise Ipswich is that we've had too many injuries. And I'm not saying that players are not injured - I'm not saying that.
“But it becomes a nice place to be, a treatment room, when things aren't going so well.
“I prefer teams full of character and life and energy, and the best place for those players is on a football pitch and going forward, that's the only way it will be at Ipswich Town.”
Cook travelled to watch the U23s as they beat Charlton Athletic 2-1 at Dartford’s Princes Park on Monday.
“I think one of the big things when I go and watch the teams within the club is to offer support to the coaching staff and the players,” he explained.
“We spoke about players being criticised. When players get criticised and they're not playing well, the managers then drop them and leave them out.
“Imagine where that puts the players. I want our players to stand up and be counted and grow as men.
“So the reason I watch the U23s and watch them as many times as I can is to purely support the players within that.
“I'm not looking for wholesale changes within the team at the minute, I'm looking for good players within the team that we know are good players but aren't producing at the minute to start producing better football for us on the run-in.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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