|AFC Wimbledon 3 v 0 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 13th April 2021 Kick-off 18:30
Cook: We're a Million Miles From a Good Team, Supporters Must Be Tired and Bored By Now
Tuesday, 13th Apr 2021 21:33
Boss Paul Cook pulled no punches in his post-match press conference following Town’s humiliating 3-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon admitting the Blues are “a million miles from a good team” and added that fans must be “tired and bored of it now”.
Asked how much the defeat, Town’s first ever loss to the Dons under the AFC name, hurt him, Cook said: “I can’t. I just can’t. I’ve watched football for years and years, I’ve been around football. I’ve always put myself in the supporters’ position. Our supporters are tired now, bored of us. Let’s have it right, that’s what they are.
“I lucky enough and privileged enough to probably have a chance hopefully to try and change a lot of what’s gone on. And that’s what’s going to have to happen now.
“There’s no throwing players under the bus, no excuses offered. We’re a million miles from a good team, and that includes myself and the staff tonight.
“You win together, you lose together, we travel away together, we have each other. But, like I say, I have been managing for a long time now.
“The best feeling when you’re a manager when you put a team on the pitch that you trust. I don’t trust our team, I’ve got to be open and say that. That doesn’t mean everyone’s a bad player, it doesn’t mean everyone’s doing something wrong but we’re miles off it. We’re just miles off it for the club.
“And again, I keep going back to our supporters. They’re tired and bored of it now. We have to be better because if we’re not, the changes will keep being repetitive. I’m not so sure that keeping changing gets you to where you want to be because somewhere along the line, the anchor has to go in and the badness has to stop and we have to start taking steps forward.
“We’ve taken a massive step back tonight as a club, and that’s so disappointing for me, for you guys that travel and everybody else.”:
The Blues have won only two of Cook’s first 10 games and he knows that’s far from what was hoped for when he came in just over a month ago.
“Oh come on, as a football manager coming in, two wins out of 10, it is what it is,” he reflected. “I’m big enough and I’ve been around the game well long enough to be able to shoulder criticism. Like I say, when you’re a manager and you stand on the touchline, you are as good as your team.
“So tonight if you’re suggesting that [having won] two out of 10, I’m not a very good manager and I haven’t got a very good team.”
The game hinged on a 10-minute spell in which Wimbledon scored twice and Josh Harrop was sent off. Asked about that period of the match, Cook added: “You’re now going to go into more negative questions about more negativity. I’ve told you, we weren’t very good, it’s not good enough and it has to change. I don’t think I need to add much more.”
What does he say to fans losing heart? “I’ve said enough. I’m surprised we’ve still got any. We are what we are, we flatter to deceive, so the questions you can ask me will continue to be negative, I can’t change my answers. I can’t.
“We’re not good enough, we know that. On a pitch you’re supposed to do the right things, score goals, defend well. We don’t do any of it.”
After the break the Blues briefly showed some threat, however, Cook appeared not overly impressed by that spell: “Well done us. Well done us.”
Asked whether he’s now got a job to lift the players ahead of Saturday, the Blues manager said: “They have to lift themselves now, don’t they? In sport, in general, if you don’t feel pain, you will never do anything about it. We need to feel pain, we to travel home tonight and if it’s doesn’t affect you tomorrow and the next day, there’s something wrong.
“I’m not so sure it affects our players a great deal. The reality for us going forward is things must change.”
Cook has given plenty of different players a chance since coming to the club and has used several different systems.
“You’ve asked me enough,” he added. “Two up front tonight. We tried our best. I’m not going to be drawn into giving players criticism.
“Like I said to them after the game, they’ve been kicked from pillar to post at times and they’re probably now tired of being kicked from pillar to post.
“The reality for us is we had a big week last week, there’s a lot of change going on at the football club and the supporters are the ones that I only feel for. They’re the ones who have supported us for a period of time where they’re not happy and the eventually the sun’s got to start shining on the club. It’s not shining on the club in any shape or form.”
Cook spoke to new chairman Mike O’Leary, who was with Bryan Klug, Lee O’Neill and club secretary Stuart Hayton, after the game. Quizzed on how O’Leary felt, Cook said: “I think Michael’s a very experienced gentleman, isn’t he? I’m sure Michael and the people who are coming in see, I’m sure they’ve been watching lots of Ipswich games and I’m sure they’re well-versed for what’s coming.
“As experienced people, what can we do about it tonight? What can I say to make it better? Absolutely nothing. So let’s take the pain.”
Does he feel under pressure? “I’m a football manager, we feel pressure every single day of our lives, every day. If you’re not winning football matches you’re under pressure, aren’t you. So I feel it, of course I do.”
Can Town still keep talking about the play-offs? “You can always keep talking about them because while there’s life there’s hope. But unfortunately it’s a very tough night for us.
“Let’s lick our wounds, let’s get on the bus back to Ipswich, let’s keep our heads down and let the pain settle in because as a club you’re hurting tonight. I think, as I said answering some of the questions, the questions just continually get more negative. You can’t change that [tonight].”
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