Cook: One of the Best Games I've Seen in a Long Time
Saturday, 1st May 2021 18:29
Blues boss Paul Cook hailed last night’s 3-2 after-extra-time FA Youth Cup quarter-final victory over 10-man Sheffield United at Portman Road as one of the best games of football he’s seen in a long time.
An own goal gave the U18s the win in a pulsating tie which swung one way and then the other over the course of three hours once 33 minutes for stoppages in addition to extra-time were taken into account.
The win sets up a semi-final tie at home to Liverpool, the club both Cook and U18s manager Adem Atay support, which must be played before Saturday 15th May.
“Probably one of the best games of football I’ve watched for a long, long time, it had everything,” Cook said when asked about the match.
“The emotions Adz [Atay], the staff and the players went through. Both teams, by the way, Sheffield United were a credit to their club and Ipswich were obviously a credit to ours.
“To see the players give everything they’ve got and there was no end of quality on the pitch as well. And the celebrations in the dressing room were brilliant for the young lads. They can look forward to an exciting semi-final.”
Cook and his assistant Gary Roberts were filmed joining the youngsters for those celebrations.
“Right in the middle! No messing about!” he laughed. “They’re great days for people, that’s why we train, that’s why you’ve got to get fitter, that’s why you’ve got to get stronger so those days come more frequently. You never stop enjoying those days.”
He added: “Without being critical of people, I don’t think our lower age groups, our academy/U23s, I don’t think they do a lot wrong. I think the first team now for a couple or three years has not been good enough and that’s something that’s down to me and the rest of the staff to change that culture at the club.”
Reflecting on having to support a team against Liverpool, he joked: “It’s going to stretch me that one, guys. I like free tickets at Anfield!
“Listen, I’ll be fully behind Adz and the boys. They can’t lose now, they’ve put themselves in a situation now where they can only win and I hope that the families can come in because I’m sure they were watching on the iFollow last night and they must have been so proud of them. Hopefully they can be a bit more proud when that semi-final comes to Portman Road.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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