Cook: If You Want to Be Here, We Need to See More
Monday, 12th Apr 2021 12:16
Manager Paul Cook says the Blues players to “step up to the plate a lot more than they have been doing” if they want to stay at the club ahead of what he believes will be exciting times under the Blues new ownership.
Asked about the mood among the squad at the present time, whether they’re feeling edgy and a bit of pressure, Cook said: “I don’t think they feel the pressure, I’ve got to tell you. I think we do what it says on the tin. We’re very honest, we’re organised, we’re committed, we lack quality going forward, we’re desperate for lads to step up to the plate.
“For these players today, being out of contract will affect some of them, and rightly so. New ownership’s coming in, it will be exciting times in terms of investment into the team, players coming in.
“What I crave for is some of our players who are here now to step up to the plate a lot more than you have been doing because if you want to be here, we need to see more.”
Cook says no one’s approached him to talk about their contract situation with 20 players having their terms coming to an end this summer with seven young players already having been told they can move on.
“No, not really,” he said. “As you can imagine, I try and be as honest as I can with you guys, and I give the same honesty with them in the players’ dressing rooms, changing rooms.
“When you want to be successful, as you know yourselves, you’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to sacrifice and you’ve got to do a lot.
“What you see on a Saturday afternoon is only the stage performance of what people have rehearsed and practised.
“Some of the stuff I’ve seen behind the scenes, the training loads, the output of players on the football pitch and stuff, we’re off the pace. We hold our hands up, and I’m involved in that as manager of this club, we’re off the pace.
“Going forward we demand more. And that will be a demand from the players that comes to myself and the staff because we have to be better.
“Any questions you want to ask me now, lads, I can’t really answer. I’ve been as honest enough as I can be, I have a burning desire to be in the play-offs and the players have got to have the same ambitions and desires as well.
“If not, then the reality is that the season will peter out. We’ll all be left with a tinge of ‘I thought Paul Cook would have done better’. Paul Cook would have thought someone else would have done better and that pass the parcel of blame will go on.
“I don’t live in those blame cultures, me. I believe that we have to deliver and that’s my way.”
Can you put your finger on why Town aren’t scoring enough goals? “I’m not going to discuss it greatly because if you go into the goals scored column for the season, I think we’re third-bottom, aren’t we?
“You’re going to get into a problem that’s been here for a long time. The reality is then, for a manager, you want to start throwing players under the bus. I don’t work like that. The reality is that free-scoring teams score goals regularly, teams that don’t, don’t.
“You look at systems we’ve played this year, we’re probably one of the clubs in the division that have probably played every system you can play in football in pursuit of trying to gain success. Eventually, it comes down to calibre of player in your football club.”
Asked whether he’s surprised at how difficult it has been since he came in, Cook wasn’t keen to get into the discussion.
“Again, you’re going to take me to places I just don’t want to go because you’re going to get me to criticise the players, which I will not do,” he said.
“As a football club, when you play for top clubs, you either deliver or you leave. There is no other apartment available, there’s no other platform.
“For us going forward, we’ve got to be careful now because our players get told continually that they’re not good enough, that they don’t deliver. I would imagine if the lads are on social media, they’ll probably come off social media because the criticism they get.
“We have the same press conference every week and speak about the same problems every week.
“That’s why I haven’t done press a couple of times because I’d be speaking about the same problems.
“Hopefully we can cure it, we can go and win a couple of games, if that’s 1-0, so be it. But as a manager you’ve got to focus on the team, how can we improve.
“Can I help the team? At the minute the team is very, very solid, very, very well-organised and disciplined defensively but going forward it’s lacking creativity, lacking quality and lacking numbers in the box. I hope that’s nearly answered your question!”
The best way to instil some positivity is to get a couple of wins. “Again, we’re just going over the same ground. We’ve got seven games to go. If we were to win a number of games we’d be in the play-offs. If we could win a play-off semi-final, we’d possibly be playing at Wembley in front of some Ipswich Town fans.
“I don’t know how you feel about that, but I’m actually getting little goose pimples on my arms thinking about it. So why not?”
He added: “What do we all think we can learn about our players tomorrow evening that we don’t already know?
“You’re looking for me to be some sort of absolute magician, but I’m not. But the truth is that we’ve been away to Blackpool and won, we’ve been away to Hull and won, we’ve have strong performances at home. We’ve had really good performances when people didn’t think we would.
“At the minute, if you look at the last few games, Rochdale, Wigan and MK Dons, by drawing games, if any of those games had been a 1-0 victory to Ipswich, the margin for success would have been greater.
“And they’re the small margins I’m trying to change as a manager. I can’t make wholesale changes to make us better. But I’ve got to stick with the plan that we are what we are, but within being what we are, can we be successful at what we are. That’s the big challenge for me and the staff.”
While the Blues are third from bottom in a goals scored League One table, 41, at the other end only four sides have conceded fewer than the 38 shipped by Town.
But that’s not much of a consolation to Cook: “Not really because I like my teams to attack! I like chances, I like fans to enjoy watching the team get numbers forward.
“You’re getting involved in debates about full-backs. There’s no time for those debates. We’ve got Luke Woolfenden playing in a right-back/right-sided position and he’s a centre-half, and he’s doing great in the functioning of the team.
“Is that what we want going forward? Not a prayer. Not a chance. Is it making us solid at the minute? Yes, it is. So we’ve got to keep believing in what we’re doing, albeit if you’re looking at one television programme today, it’s not the one we’ll be watching tomorrow, 100 per cent.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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|Trac70 added 12:37 - Apr 12|
I like Cookie. Talks a lot of sense. Let's hope he's laid people's fears to rest about his future and move onwards and upwards whether that be this season or next. COYB.
|cromwellblue added 12:38 - Apr 12|
Glad to see the comments from Paul Cook today. Had my concerns on the silence.
Remain in the belief we have good manager. Cleary not happy with the squad and there performance levels but won't publicly criticise them.
The message is right, step up or you're gone.
Such a stark contrast to Lambert and his perpetual efforts to convince us the team were good. The player have had a far to easy ride for a long time.
|Blue_75 added 12:40 - Apr 12|
Very honest and factually correct assessment!
Goals win games and unless Norwood is playing we’re not at the races!
We need at least 3 quality strikers in the squad. We were linked with Clarke-Harris and Wyke in the summer, they’re 1st and 2nd in the scoring table and look where their teams are!
Cool knows what needs to be done in the summer.
|IPSWICHMOUSE added 12:42 - Apr 12|
"Eventually, it comes down to calibre of player in your football club.”.....EXACTLY.....So cannot wait for the Summer clear out tbh.....COYB...ITID...
|Dockerblue added 12:43 - Apr 12|
Definately the right man to take us forward. The last 3 seasons have been poor, a direct result of Hurst and his terrible transfer dealings. The players have been left in no doubt what the deal is, deliver or pick up your p45! What clubs would take most of them? They need to have a long hard look at themselves because the alternative to live at Ipswich Town is a whole lot worse, it certainly won,t be as comfortable as they,ve had here.
|BlueySwede added 12:57 - Apr 12|
I like Paul Cook and I believe he is the man to take us forward. However, some of his answers remind me somewhat of Paul Lambert, it´s not in the same manner, but there is a hint of passive agressive answers towards the media. Also, answers like "“Again, you’re going to take me to places I just don’t want to go because you’re going to get me to criticise the players, which I will not do,”..well, actually that answer in itself is a huge critisism of the players. I do find it a bit worrying that none of the players have shown a sparkle, lifted themself since the change of manager.
|Pencilpete added 12:59 - Apr 12|
It's only one of two things.
1. the players are massively underperforming and don't want to be here since nobody can get a tune out of them
2. they are simply not good enough
i think the truth is somewhere inbetween the two - they arn't as bad as they are playing at the moment but they arn't as good as they think they are - Dozzell, Bishop, Downes and Woolfenden have been played for way too long on their 'talent' and 'ability' without ever really showing it on a regular basis, Jackson has ability but lacks effort ... Sears, Skuse and Chambers are way too comfortable - others like Toto, Edwards, Hawkins, Drinan work hard but lack ability and James Norwood is just a gobsh1te who is always injured and still wishes he was at Tranmere and thinks its OK to slag off a club legend like Mick Mills on twitter. What doesn't help is that Lambert and now Cook protect them from critisism and i think some of the senior players have too much of an influence .... all of that added together makes what we have out on the pitch every week.
|dirtydingusmagee added 13:00 - Apr 12|
says the right things, recognises whats wrong,just be glad to see it all converted into action, so far there has not been any sign of life in the team .Cook can only try to get the team to perform,but you cant make a banquet for a king out of a tin of beans.
|Michael101 added 13:10 - Apr 12|
It's about time these so called players had there backsides kicked .been in cruise control mode far to long .
|blueboy1981 added 13:12 - Apr 12|
The ‘easy Club to play for’ image has to be banished once and for all at the end of this season.
We’ve even had players leave, and quote ‘nothing was expected of them’ at Ipswich - now that says it all.
A new era has to begin - and Cook is PC is the man to take us forward.
Onwards and Upwards Paul Cook - we’re on the right road at last.
Come on you Blues.
|Cakeman added 13:18 - Apr 12|
Well said that man. How refreshing to have a manager that won’t paint a politicians picture.
|pennblue added 13:22 - Apr 12|
The reality is, when the game finished on Saturday, Paul Cook was thinking exactly the same as us. It is as frustrating for him as it is for us, that the players just don't seem to be up for the fight. I can't understand it myself, I mean, it is fundamentally what sport is all about, trying to win, and if they haven't got that in them, then quite what they are doing playing football I don't know.
|Barty added 13:31 - Apr 12|
In all honesty there are very few of our players worth keeping. We need a major clear out in the summer , some serious investment and that will lead to some long overdue optimism. Good luck Paul.
|mow_the_lawn added 13:58 - Apr 12|
Whilst a big clear out would be what is needed, we will still have to keep some constants from the team during that phasing into a new team. If we have 6/7 new signings in the 11 on the first day of next season, it’ll be very hard for them as a team to play together no matter what the pre season friendlies may show. I’d expect a few one year extensions on lower wages maybe for some of the more experienced players (should they accept), and for them to start the season and gradually but quickly be phased out of the starting 11.
|Barty added 14:14 - Apr 12|
A totally different squad cant really do any worse and who knows we will probably score a GOAL or three
|TimmyH added 14:26 - Apr 12|
'Committed and organised' not sure about that but a number of players certainly do need to 'step up to the plate'...
Problem is I'm not sure we can get rid of all those out of contract it will be too many new faces coming in at once...the squad needs to be smaller no doubt so a tough job for PC to make in the summer.
|heathen66 added 14:43 - Apr 12|
It is not all about the strikers
We were linked with Clarke-Harris and Wyke in the summer, they’re 1st and 2nd in the scoring table, however in all honesty they would not be if we had signed them.
This is because we have very little creativity and therefore do not create too many scoring opportunities
We are defensively solid because we play 4 or 5 defenders AND holding midfielders.
The attacking wingers are more likely to be found in their own half and when we do get the ball in the offensive third, there are very limited options to aim for.
As a system we sit too deep and cannot attack at pace as it takes 5 backwards and sideways passes before we think about a forward pass.
I though Jackson makes some good runs but with no one willing or able to find that through ball it does look as though he is indeed running round like a headless chicken.
Again it does make you wonder what the players do in training as surely if they know Jackson or Sears are playing they must surely have talked about and trained in how we will exploit those strengths.
The same with Norwood, or Parrott, or indeed Hawkins.
You need to play to players strength...it is simple...isn't it ???
|herfie added 16:15 - Apr 12|
Sound management and training can only go so far in improving individuals’ performances; the base metal remains. Applies, equally, to both technical and mental strengths. However, doing so must be PC’s immediate challenge for the remaining games. Far greater, more complex, challenges await - something he readily acknowledges.
The elephant in the room, however, is Mat Gill’s position. His recent post-match comments were taken from the PL manual of seeing spun gold from dead lead - defending abject mediocrity. But, more seriously, as a key member of PL’s team he must bear a large slice of responsibility for not recognising, and actively correcting, those fundamental major shortcomings regarding fitness, attitudes and work ethic found so lacking by PC.
|therein61 added 16:35 - Apr 12|
An honest and refreshing interview i would imagine he's had any doubts in his mind cleared(hence his previous silence) with a meeting with the new owners hence his very chirpy optimism, regarding the players he will not put them down to the media but i expect a few have been read the riot act now he knows where he is going forward, the crawlers have to buckle down and work for a change as they cannot bypass the manager any longer.
|Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:00 - Apr 12|
If PC goes out and criticises players individually and collectively, then they will just give up completely for the rest of the season as they know they will be moving on. I get the fact he doesn't want to do this publicly. While we still have a chance, however minimal, an honest but not-too-critical approach makes sense. I think PC is a master psychologist who knows what he is doing in this regard. Lambert's approach wasn't so very different, but he was not very good at expressing it. PC is much more verbally gifted.
|ringwoodblue added 18:23 - Apr 12|
I like what he says and agree with most of it but I think if the players were going to step up or were capable of improving, they would have done so by now. Therefore, I don’t think this rallying cry will have any effect unfortunately.
It pains me to say it but we don’t deserve a playoff place. S’land, Pompey, Blackpool and Lincoln all play attractive football and score goals so would make much more entertaining playoff games. If we did make it, it would be embarrassing.
|multiplescoregasms added 18:25 - Apr 12|
I think we have a good man in charge with PC, and clearly this is not the squad he really wants. The start of next season will no doubt see a much smaller squad with players that suit his way of playing.
I think some of our young players have been living off reputation for far too long, and for me, it's time for them to move on. Dozzell and Bishop would be at the top of my list for that. Our squad is not a total train wreck, but it is far too big and far too average as a whole.
Looking forward to the new owners and PC getting this club heading in the right direction.
|RobsonWark added 18:31 - Apr 12|
dirtydingusmagee added 13:00 - Apr 12
"Cook can only try to get the team to perform,but you cant make a banquet for a king out of a tin of beans."
They are not even Heinz Beanz!
|HarleydavidsonBlue added 18:50 - Apr 12|
For whats it's worth i believe the current squad do not want to get promoted, because that means they will have to start earning there wages. They have been found out ! They are not good enough. Either way lets get this season finished, a massive clear out, and start next season with a new squad, high expectations.
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