Cook: We Never Looked Like Losing But Didn't Look Like Scoring the Goals to Win It
Monday, 5th Apr 2021 18:23
Boss Paul Cook admitted that while Town were never in much danger of losing their 0-0 draw at Rochdale, they similarly didn’t look like scoring the goals which would claim the three points.
Asked for his thoughts on what was a not overly enthralling game, Cook joked: “No chance! Obviously we all watch the same game. For managers now, we’re in a culture where you take positives and the positive is that we’ve got a point.
“We kept a clean sheet, we haven’t folded away from home when we might have done previously but I felt it was a game that we never really looked losing. We looked quite solid at the back. Did we ever look like scoring the goals to win us the game? Probably not the same way.
“The flair players in football today, they’re huge at every football club no matter who you are. Our lads this year, our record’s there where we haven’t really scored enough goals, we’ve huffed and puffed in those areas and today we’re still doing the same things.
“I’ll just keeping working with the boys. I’ve just said to them in there that we have to have a little bit of humility about us as a group. We’re a great club, everyone knows that, they’ve heard all that before.
“And the first thing we all do, we look at ourselves - are we working hard enough, are we doing enough? So going forward then that we can have a plan.
“Today we hoped we’d win the game, but we didn’t believe we were going to win it, we hoped. And a club like ours coming to Rochdale, we’ve got to be better than that, we’ve got to believe we’re going to win, when we’re going to win, what minute are we going to score? None of us felt that. And that’s the sadness but sadness can soon turn to joy, can’t it? That’s for sure.”
Is it difficult to solve the issue of a lack of a goal threat? “We are, James Norwood is out injured. Oli Hawkins has come on today, we’ve put combinations together which we haven’t really worked on.
“Let’s have it right, we’re at a stage of the season where getting on the training ground is difficult because of fatigued and tiredness, we travelled up north yesterday.
“What we have at the club is a really honest group of players, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve been in this building, I’ve been in dressing rooms that have characters who aren’t honest. We don’t have that.
“We have a group of young lads that are honest but at times are lacking quality and you’d expect us to have that quality at this club, which is something, with eight games to go, we still have a chance of doing.
“I said to them in there ‘you’ve got to be the one to step up, it’s your time, now is your time. Forget everything’s that gone on, let’s step up to the plate’.
Quizzed on whether Norwood would be back for next week’s home game against the MK Dons, he added: “With the greatest respect to every player, it’s hard at this club because we just get more injuries at this club than at any club I’ve seen. I’m not putting dates on it, I don’t think he’s bad, it’s a thigh problem and you don’t want him to carry on playing.
“Again, let’s lick our wounds let’s travel back south, disappointment’s never far away in football and the disappointment is that we want to be so much better than we are and with eight games to go, we’ve got to find a way, haven’t we?
“Within the shape of the team, we do look quite solid, I give them that. But we don’t look like scoring.
“We made five positive subs, I might be wrong with that. Sorry, Myles Kenlock came on the left side because Teddy Bishop was just shattered. Teddy worked so hard, second game [in four days], he carried an ankle problem from the game on Friday, so Myles came on just to block that side.
“But within that we tried our best to get players on. I thought Oli Hawkins looked a handful, I’ve got to say that. Again, it is what it is, you’ve watched it yourselves, you don’t need me to go over it much more.”
Cook started in the 3-5-2 system employed against Bristol Rovers before moving to a four-man backline towards the end of the first half.
“I think our supporters, going forward, know I have beliefs in the game and stuff like that,” he continued. “But at the minute we don’t have the personnel to do that.
“But what we do have is players coming back like Flynn Downes, who will be back with us, so we have options to get good players on the pitch. Kane Vincent-Young will be back this week.
“We’ve got the ingredients, haven’t we? What we’ve got to do is put them into the pot to make a nice meal.
“At the minute, I’m not so sure how it will be next Saturday. Feel free to write in and give us some suggestions.
“Keep believing, that would be my message to fans. I know it’s been a tough year for everyone and it’s easy to criticise us again.
“I watch the games as a fan. If I was a travelling fan today, would I have been happy? No! Not a chance. But would I go home and still support my team? One hundred per cent.”
Many fans and pundits thought Town needed six points from their two Easter games, however, Cook isn’t too unhappy with four.
“I genuinely thought it had to be four and I’ve got to be honest about that,” he said. “I think that if you keep picking four points out of each two games you’ll be fine.
“The reality is that each dropped point puts the pressure on the next game and the reality for us is that if we want to be in the play-offs, it looks at the minute that our home form is good, but away from home we need to be better. And that’s for me and the staff to address.”
That neither side managed a shot on target summed up the game but also illustrates Town’s strengths and weaknesses at the present time.
“You don’t need many comments from me on that,” Cook continued. “That’s the truth. You guys travel, we try and put flair players on. Sometimes our quality in possession of the ball is alarming, but there you go.”
Are confidence or belief the issue? “I don’t know, I can’t answer those questions because we travelled on the back of good home win. We travelled to Fleetwood off the back of a good home win.
“But for some reason, we don’t seem to take games by the scruff of the neck and say ‘we’re Ipswich Town, we’re dominating this football match, we’re about to take control’.
“It’s always hope and you don’t play football with hope, well you have to play with hope, but you’ve got to play with belief and the belief comes off the players. Could our players have ran more or worked harder? No. Did we lack quality? Yes, 100 per cent.”
Reflecting on the game further, he added: “You’ve watched more games than me, you’re not going to learn any more from me today that you don’t already know and the supporters don’t.
“Within that, my big message to the players in the dressing room is ‘step up to the plate, come on, there are eight games to go, so much football to play, let’s step up to the plate’. And that will be the continuous message.”
Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy felt his team, whose only win at Spotland this season was back in October, were the more likely victors.
“I thought it was a tough game,” he told the Dale official website. “I thought our lads put everything into the last two games - the one on Friday [a 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth] and today.
“We’ve had loads of games this season where we’ve played well and probably haven’t got what we felt we deserved.
“Today I thought we defended resolutely and I thought we were in the game for the whole game.
“I thought we were the team likely to win it, in difficult conditions. I’m just really proud of the lads for the amount effort they put into the game to get a result at home.”
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