Cook: First Half Possibly the Worst Performance From One of My Teams in My Whole Managerial Career
Saturday, 24th Apr 2021 18:28
Town boss Paul Cook was scathing about his side’s performance as they drew 0-0 at home to AFC Wimbledon, declaring the first-half display perhaps the worst he’s ever seen from one of his teams and that the Blues were like a “Sunday league team that’s won a cup to come and play at Portman Road.”
Asked his assessment of the game, Cook said: “I know I can’t shut up and I’ve got to be careful because I don’t want to go on, so I’ll try and be as brief as I can.
“The first half was possibly, and I’ve got to have a good memory, the worst performance of one of my teams I have ever seen in my whole managerial career.
“I’ve never seen a team play like that, I’ve never seen a team lack every quality on a football pitch, including the biggest one, honesty.
“Including winning contact, winning the second ball, doing basic stuff well. And it’s so disappointing.
“But nothing will sway me now. I’ve been of a mindset for a period of time, before Marcus left the club and the new ownership came in, what needs to happen. The plans behind the scenes haven’t changed.
“I just feel like we’re not far off a Sunday league team that’s won a cup to come and play at Portman Road.
“You look at the stadium being empty and you’re so thankful that it is empty because the first half was an absolute shambles of a performance.
“In the second half I thought we were honest, we did a lot better. Dobs [Armando Dobra] came on and gave us a lift by just purely wanting to play football and being a kid that just loves football.
“You look at some of ours and it’s like they don’t like being footballers. They won’t have to wait too much longer for that to happen.”
Quizzed on whether there have been a few harsh words at half-time, Cook continued: “I’m not coming out to say that, I’ll give you my honest assessment, as I always will. I’m the manager of this team.
“I can’t stand watching us play, and that breaks my heart as I stand here privileged to be manager of the club. That team does not epitomise what I like about the game, it’s just the total opposite.”
Town have now gone more than 10 hours - 619 minutes - without a goal and are closing in on their all-time record of 714 minutes from the 1994/95 season in the Premier League.
has he known a spell like this one? Can the Blues end it before the season’s over? “How long’s left? Three 90s? I reckon our fans are going to have to get ready for more.
“We had a couple of chances second half, Keanan Bennetts has gone clean through in the first half and you can see that sometimes when we get in those positions our confidence isn’t there.
“That’s something that you can speak about for ever, confidence, it becomes boring. Go and be the one who does it. Go and be the one who gains confidence by taking a goal and taking an opportunity.
“There have been enough excuses round here now. I might even ban you all for the next three games because it’s going to actually be quite pointless, isn’t it?
“I think we have a good relationship but it’s pointless me coming out trying to show I’m a tough guy and all the above. I don’t like watching us play. I don’t think that team represents [me].
“I think we’re soft, I think we lack character and we lack big players and I hope and I pray that I’m the one that can change that.”
One positive was the second half display of Armando Dobra having come off the bench: “He came on and he looked like he wanted to play football, and that shone through in a really poor team today, and that’s something I have to deal with.
“We’ve got two weeks to go, the season now that’s fallen completely flat from being in a great position, and that’s under me, a really strong position to wilting away, to becoming a soft touch, becoming easy to beat where teams like Wimbledon come to Portman Road and from the first minute were probably the better team on the pitch. And that’s sad.
“I’m not disrespecting Wimbledon, by the way, please don’t take my comments the wrong way. It’s sad that the best we can offer is not a lot.”
Asked about the change of keeper, Dai Cornell starting and Tomas Holy dropping to the bench, Cook said: “I think you’ve seen with the team, big Oli [Hawkins] came in and did OK. He’s as honest as the day at the top end of the pitch. Dai’s made a few saves including the penalty, which were good saves.
“I think in general now I think we’ve seen everyone and you guys have seen them more than me. There’ll be no stupid statements from me, I think I’ve made one or two there, haven’t I when look back, but I don’t think I need to make many more, do I?”
Cook said after the defeat at Northampton that the criticism of the players had to stop but with performances like the first half they’re making that difficult.
“It has to stop, doesn’t it?” Cook added. “You know me, you’ve been around me a little bit. I’ll always be as honest as I can.
“I’ve enjoyed managing and this is a period where I was out of work for eight or nine months and couldn’t wait to get back in and the way my team’s playing at the minute I’ll be out of work again very soon.
“That’s not me. I don’t represent the football club like that. The players are representing us at the minute.
“I know the fans know. I know that. Whatever I say can’t change anything, so even with you [the media] next week I’m going to try and be a little bit quieter, I’m not going to discuss everything you might want me to and let’s just wait for the changes to come.”
Wimbledon head coach Mark Robinson was disappointed that his side didn't claim all three points.
“I have mixed feelings after that result,” he told his club's official website. “We were excellent in the first half. I hope the fans can see that we were excellent in the first half because I’m sure the fans, like us, are disappointed we only came away with a point.
“The chances were there, they’ve put in a couple of great blocks. We’ve also missed chances that we should’ve scored and the lads know that. The game could’ve been over in the first half an hour, so we’re disappointed.
“We started bright again in the second half. Ayoub [Assal] could’ve scored when he cut inside and tried to round the keeper. After that Ipswich came at us for 20 minutes, they flashed a couple of crosses across the face of goal. I don’t think Nik [Tzanev] has made a save.
“When you’re away from home, teams are always going to have a spell but we nullified that and had our own little spell where we created a couple more chances.
“Probably not as many as we wanted but it shows how far we have come, we’re coming to Portman Road and we’re disappointed with a draw. We just need to put [relegation fears] to bed on Tuesday.”
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