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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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Bergholt_Blue added 18:33 - Apr 24
Says what everyone is thinking at the moment. Like he says most of the ‘players’ have left already! But can’t understand why they aren’t trying to put in good performances so other clubs might take a chance on them. Can’t wait to see what happens in the summer

martin587 added 18:35 - Apr 24
Absolutely spot on Paul.It’s about time the truth was said about this so called bunch of professionals.Just hope they’ve mostly gone by next season.

Radlett_blue added 18:37 - Apr 24
Great honesty from Cook, echoing what most of us have been thinking. The season's over, let's wait for the big clear-out.

ArnieM added 18:38 - Apr 24
It’s ok Paul, we KNOW you’ve inherited a shower of shyte, and a bunch of gutless individuals pertaining to be professional footballers. Trust me , we have finally bottomed out now . 270mins plus injury time left of this turgid shamboluc crock of shyte of a squad then the new era begins .

Onwards and upwards next season 👍

Ipswichbusiness added 18:39 - Apr 24
By the sound of it, at the end of season, either the players will be leaving, or the manager, or both.

happybeingblue added 18:40 - Apr 24
thats a bit harsh on the dog and duck tbh,even after a skinful they run harder

Kingfisher49 added 18:42 - Apr 24
Paul please just keep enough players training to put out a squad for the last three games and send the rest of on their Summer holidays with their goodbye letter in their pocket. Time to get those players out of the club who show no desire or respect for those who pay their over inflated wages.

muhrensleftfoot added 18:43 - Apr 24
What a damming indictment of our team. We hit rock bottom a few weeks ago and we're still bouncing along the bottom. So much has to change in the summer. It may be too much to expect success next season but perhaps some players who have pride in playing for our great club will already be an achievement.

fizzyblue added 18:45 - Apr 24
Problem is cookie you’ve stuck with the likes of Bennett’s when your looking for for players that will “run through brick walls for you”. Should have started to dobra IMHO at least the kid sticks in a shift. I know your not keen on getting the youngsters involved too early but it will be a helluva sight more than entertaining for us fans rather than having to put up with Edwards’s lack of ability to stick a half decent ball In the box. Plus taking of bishop (who had a half decent game for side pass bob) makes absolutely no sense... God it boils my piss I tell ya!!! You have to take some responsibility man....

Phil1969 added 18:48 - Apr 24
I liken our end of season to my employer saying Phil we’re making you redundant in June but want you to put in a shift and deliver this very impressive project before you go. My response would also be fcuk you!

truthhurts added 18:51 - Apr 24
However lucky or false the position was, as a matter of fact, we were on the edge of the playoffs when Cook arrived. Team had an element of momentum.

What has happened since has been nothing short of embarrassing.

Now, i'm saying Cook is the wrong man for the job. But he must start next season well. No more excuses. Pressure will on big time...

itsonlyme added 18:51 - Apr 24
Dobra must start the last three games! Give some of the younguns a chance to play they can’t be any worse.

SickParrot added 18:51 - Apr 24
It's almost funny. PC had said that he wouldn't be criticising the players anymore but then they are SO bad and he's so angry that he can't stop himself. We know it's not your fault PC. Ban the worst offenders from Playford Road until we can get rid!

truthhurts added 18:52 - Apr 24
Typo on my previous post.

Not saying Cook ISN'T the right man for the job...

warfarinman69 added 18:54 - Apr 24
PH can't expect players to play for him and show confidence when he says he doesn't trust them. And someone please explain the logic of playing loanees. He picks the team. Sorry Paul, fear tactics won't work with the players. Next season some of the "hopeless" released players will become good players again with a new team.

borge added 18:54 - Apr 24
Spot on Phil1969. Not sure what he expects.

I think he also needs to keep a lid on it now. I think he's now just saying things to try to protect his position which isn't in any doubt at this stage anyway. His honesty has been very refreshing, but now he's going too far and ends up contradicting himself. Save it Paul; we all know the situation and we all know things will change in the summer so let's just get through the last three games without the negativity because it no longer serves any purpose.

cat added 18:54 - Apr 24
P.C certainly ain’t hit the ground running and I share his pain, but it’s been a useful exercise in identifying who’s up for the challenge and who aint. We have been in serious decline since the playoff season and rather fortunately we have landed a big investor who has the cash to overhaul us Take the positive from that cause there’s nothing else.

Ebantiass added 18:54 - Apr 24
It hurts but if you have to find a positive its that I believe Cook is as honest as the day is long. I would LOVE to get his assistant still at wigan in. Put a rocket up their arses and bring back some fight and pride.


BryanPlug added 18:55 - Apr 24
It says a lot about how comfortable the players got under Marcus Evans. Just going through the motions picking up thousands a week. And that includes senior players who should set a better example such as Chambers and Skuse.

Suffolkboy added 18:56 - Apr 24
I write without reading in depth — only the headline .,
Whose fault is this the ? You are the Manager and are failing massively in the task on your desk,and challenge before you .You tell us you don’t do social media ; do you read TWTD ?
I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts running through the minds of the new owners : maybe PC can’t cut the mustard ,maybe it’s all a bit of a cover up with the camouflage falling aside !
It’s entirely reprehensible for him to be unable to muster a proper team effort , to have turned off virtually the whole of the playing unit ,AND to declaim upon the players as he has ( do not be fooled by his ‘I shoulder etc etc ‘ ) this is downright awful and how he thinks he will resurrect ITFC having disowned responsibility is beyond current belief .
SORT yourself OUT !

BlueandTruesince82 added 18:56 - Apr 24
Once again PC says what we are all thinking and once again now we have a manager who seems to see exactly want we ever all been saying for 2 years some will somehow take issues with that.


VanDusen added 19:03 - Apr 24
Clear any relationship between players and manager broke down a few weeks ago and it's now just going through the motions. Most interesting tho that Chambers remains on the bench as if there's one thing even detractors on here should admit is at least he cares 100%. And McGuinness is utterly awful...

cat added 19:07 - Apr 24
Hey Suffolkboy, what’s happened? Your normally one of the more say rational, everything’s good at ITFC kinda poster now your on ultra negative side. P.C can only work with the players he has, you can’t make a mentally shot team into something else when there’s no desire or passion present.
Cooks honest if nothing else as yet, give him the early part of next season to show us what’s he’s about. Once he’s spent a considerable amount of cash then the pressure will be well and truly on for him to deliver.
All change, jump on board, exciting times ahead.

HARRY10 added 19:07 - Apr 24
odd, how a month or so back we had 'the strongest squad in the league' and it was all Lamberts fault

ArnieM added 19:08 - Apr 24
Suffolkboy : I suggest you read the article .

The squad and Paul Cook are stuck with each other for 3 more games . The players don’t want to be here , and Cook doesn’t want them either , and neither do us fans ! Three games of this dross by as bigger bunch of UN- professional footballers as you’ll ever witness .

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