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Cook: A Tough Day For Us, We're a Work in Progress
Saturday, 31st Jul 2021 18:08

Blues boss Paul Cook admitted this afternoon’s 3-0 defeat was a tough day for his side which he says everyone should be aware is a work in progress following all the summer changes.

Cook admitted that Town were very much second best to Millwall, who impressed him greatly with their display.

“A tough day for us, isn’t it? If you look at the game overall, you might disagree with me, some of the supporters might, but I thought for 15 or 20 minutes at the start we really struggled to get into the game,” he said.

“I thought Millwall were a really good side, they were dominating the ball, they were working us.

“But I felt that we grew into the game, we grew into the half and it was probably our best spell in the game when we conceded, and you know yourself that goals change the confidence levels, everything.

“While we’re still working hard to be a work in progress, which is what we are, 100 per cent, Millwall are a very, very strong side.

“I think Gary will be delighted tonight with how they played and performed. For us, we go away, we lick our wounds and we work harder to come back better.”

He added: “If anyone thinks it’s not a work in progress then they’re very foolish, aren’t they? You can’t change the football world today. We’ve signed some good players and the reality is that people then think you’ve won the league.

“Football’s not like that, we’ve got so much hard work to do, we’ve got to integrate new players, how long that takes will be the big thing.

“For us today it was a tough day. When you have days like today you respect the opposition because it’s easy to say we didn’t play well. We weren’t allowed to play well today by a very strong Championship team.

“We’ll lick our wounds, we’ve had five weeks together the majority of that squad. We still need to bring more players in, we still have deficiencies in the team that are clear to see and that’s something that [CEO] Mark [Ashton] and I will try and address over the next week or two.”

Reflecting on pre-season as a whole, he said: “I’ve enjoyed it. If you look at Millwall, I’m not being critical of [Lions manager] Gary [Rowett] or what they’ve done, but I’m not so sure they’ve signed a player. I might be wrong on that, but you look at Millwall and you see how strong they are, how well organised they are.

“That’s a group of lads who have been together for a good period of time. That’s what we’re aspiring to be and certainly over three or four pre-season games with new lads arriving daily, that’s certainly not going to get us to those levels.

“So we’ll stay patient, we’ll stay calm, we’ll keep working very hard and we certainly will come back better than we were today.”


Asked about George Edmundson and Scott Fraser who were absent from the squad, he added: “Just little injuries that have kept them out, and that’s part and parcel of the game.

“One of the things I won’t do is speak about players every time we lose or anything goes wrong. It’s not a big debate, it’s pre-season. The big game starts next Saturday here and we’re all looking forward to that.

“This will be rocking next week, this place will be absolutely rocking. I think today’s result could do us the world of good going forward, it just brings everyone down to earth with a little bit of a bump.

“It doesn’t bring me back down to earth, if I’m being truthful, because it’s what you know, it’s exactly what you know. We’re a work in progress that will continually strive to get better.

“I’ve been around football long enough to know. I’ve seen good pre-seasons turn into horrific starts, I’ve seen bad pre-seasons [and good starts]. I think when you’ve been in football as long as I have, while always an indicator of what’s going on, we’ve played top level opposition now, top, top level.

“And when you’re new and playing a game against opposition as solid as Millwall that don’t give up many chances, that are a continual threat, that replace players of the quality of Wallace and Afobe with strikers like Bennetts and Smith and Bradshaw, that’s where they are, they’re a solid Championship team.

“We respect the game today, there are no problems with the game, disappointed with the result, the manner of the goals, but we’ll move on.”

Cook is pleased to see supporters back at grounds: “I think there’s a really big thing about football fans in general being in. I think that goes for away fans, I think that goes for the matchday feel in general.

“Even when I was managing Wigan and we returned after [the lockdown], the empty stadiums, it wasn’t that they couldn’t carry on without fans, if they have to carry on without fans they have to, but football needs supporters so badly and fans inside the stadium. Probably on a bad day for me, if I’m being truthful, but it’s still for the good.”

Cook admitted that ideally he’d like a couple more pre-season games before the season proper gets under way.

“Yeah 100 per cent, but we don’t get it,” he said. “We don’t get that chance. We’ve got lads not playing today that will start the season maybe, I don’t know, we haven’t dissected the game.

“One of the things with football, we all know in the world that we’re in how quickly people expect [things].

“It’s a long, long race football, 46 league games this year, and come the end of the season when you’ve played that 46th game, the league table will tell no lies. Where we will be in that league table then will be a massive thing for us as a club.

“You can overly analyse pre-season, you really, really can. You look at our bench today with young Cameron Humphreys coming on, with Matt Ward coming on, the depth of our squad is not there yet.

“We’ve still got building that are under contract, we’re still looking to bring in, we’re still working away daily.

“And when you come up against teams like Millwall today, on reflection, as I said to [director of performance] Andy Rolls, probably the worst game we could have got at Portman Road today, but that’s great credit to Millwall.

“A top team, they will go close in the Championship this year, trust me. They have men all over the pitch, they have an identity, a style of play and they’re good, which normally adds up to being successful, something that at the minute we don’t look like.”

Asked where he feels the squad is fitness-wise after pre-season, he said: “[We] keep going, [there were] lads getting 90 minutes today, Rekeem Harper and Lee Evans.

“Lee’s had injuries, we’ve had lads missing training. You can see the work that needs to go in, recognising areas of the pitch when you have to pass and play, when you have to go long.

“We’ve played with the two up front because we haven’t really had a defined number 10. There’s so much work to do.

“We respect the result, we’re always disappointed to lose a game of football but we have some manners about is.”

Quizzed on whether Flynn Downes or any of the other senior players training with the U23s might be able to work their way back into his plans, he said: “I will not be getting drawn into any questions about any players, about anything other than the team.

“We have one thing to concentrate on, the focus is on Morecambe next week and the players available to be selected.”

Millwall boss Gary Rowett was unsurprisingly chuffed with his side's display.

“I was really pleased with the performance," he told his club's official site.

“The first goal was a good goal, Benik [Afobe] has been really bright and needed that goal. He showed a poacher's instinct.

“Then the second, there were a lot of good passes and good interchange - I thought we were more creative today and brighter in and around that final third and the second goal showed that.

"The third goal comes from a set piece. There was a lot I was pleased with - I still think there's aspects I'd like us to do better on, but that's what pre-season is for.

“We've got a lot of work to do this week, but there was a lot of good things to come out of the game.”


Photo: TWTD



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suffolkblueeye added 18:14 - Jul 31
Be nice if we could keep Downes......
-5

Bazza8564 added 18:15 - Jul 31
A very fair reflection in my opinion, very honest.

And yes, PR will be rocking next week, we will make sure of that
17

essextractorboy93 added 18:32 - Jul 31
An honest assessment by Cook. Millwall do look like a very organised solid team and they gave away very few chances. We had some good spells and I was impressed with Harper and Evans in particular.

Need to tighten up at set pieces. So many new players will take a bit of time to click but we've brought in some real quality for the level we are at. Looking forward to next weekend. Atmosphere is going to be special!
11

Karlosfandangal added 18:33 - Jul 31
I won’t be bothered if Downes goes he has never lived up to the hype.
I think he needs to leave Ipswich as his head has never really been in it last season and he doesn’t look like he wants to fight for a place in the Ipswich Team.

His wages and fee can be put to better use in a player who wants to win this league
13

Suffolkboy added 18:36 - Jul 31
Not much of contention here ; a cautious review , careful to limit any criticism , little critique to digest ; mainly platitudes and no piercing insights !
That however is the expected stance ,and underneath PC remains keenly aware that better fare must be presented.!
Some of his remarks do ring of his immediate predecessor ,but I trust he has the resources and tools to overcome the challenges .
Next week will be very very interesting ,possibly revealing ,maybe exciting but certainly the beginning of a new era at and for ITFC .
COYB
3

Cakeman added 18:44 - Jul 31
Very fair assessment. I thought there was much to be positive about.
For the Millwall goals, on another day the first one could have been pushed sideways away from danger by our keeper, the second one was just a very good move finished well and we dozed off for their third.
Without really looking like scoring we battled well and I thought we looked much fitter than the teams of the past few years.
Three points next week will do nicely please.
5

bluesteel added 18:51 - Jul 31
same old same old
-5

BossMan added 18:52 - Jul 31
There are no visible positives from this game and it makes me wonder who thought it made a good choice as the final friendly of pre-season. My glass half full spin on where we are is that Morecambe are possibly the weakest side in the league so a home game against them next Saturday might easily end up giving us a 3 nil win and an extra week of prep before tougher tests which lie ahead.
1

Phil1969 added 19:34 - Jul 31
I have posted before in my lack of belief Cook is the man, however his squad is coming together late and I appreciate it will take time. But conceding six goals in the run up to the first league game isn’t good enough. I hope we can bed in the team and get a good start at the same time. The last man who tried this bombed spectacularly, the new owners I would hope won’t be so slow to act!
5

Rolosmith added 19:55 - Jul 31
You can't simply buy success, a winning team and change the culture of a downbeat club in one pre-season. Anyone who thinks it is possible to do so is kidding themselves. We must be patient with the manager and team (staff included), as we are starting a completely new project.. it's almost a totally new club after the terrible Evans era. This period of abject failure has left us all devoid of patience, and it would seem that some people are already deciding this manager isn't for us - how stupid would it be to give this manager a few months after allowing him to totally restructure the first team staff and players!!!!!! Get a grip people, it may take a while, but the club is on the up. Get behind it!
13

coolhand added 20:06 - Jul 31
That’s the usual thing to say, Millwall will be up there, they are a good team, they have quality all over the pitch. PC has got a team of players that he selected and wanted, never mind this small injuries, got to gel and work in progress talk.The Town let in 3 goals and should have been 4, organised sides at home to championship teams in pre season games should not do this. I was worried at the end of last season when we could not get a settled or organised team with the squad we had. PC, the hype has gone, now it’s your time to deliver
7

coolhand added 20:06 - Jul 31
That’s the usual thing to say, Millwall will be up there, they are a good team, they have quality all over the pitch. PC has got a team of players that he selected and wanted, never mind this small injuries, got to gel and work in progress talk.The Town let in 3 goals and should have been 4, organised sides at home to championship teams in pre season games should not do this. I was worried at the end of last season when we could not get a settled or organised team with the squad we had. PC, the hype has gone, now it’s your time to deliver
0

19781981twtd added 20:08 - Jul 31
Along way to go nothing much has changed conceding goals any creating enough or showing any teeth up front I know I will be marked down but 2 friendlies conceding 6 scoring 3 has nasty hangover from last season I really hope mr cook can get these players to get but it looks a sizeable task "personell opinion.
1

19781981twtd added 20:08 - Jul 31
Along way to go nothing much has changed conceding goals any creating enough or showing any teeth up front I know I will be marked down but 2 friendlies conceding 6 scoring 3 has nasty hangover from last season I really hope mr cook can get these players to get but it looks a sizeable task "personell opinion.
0

Dissboyitfc added 20:30 - Jul 31
i get the feeling there are some who post on TWTD, wont call them supporters, who will be pleased to see Paul Cook fail, so the can say, they said right from the start he wasnt the manager to take us forward. Whilst we all want to see, the signs of improvement, anyone with any knowledge of football will know its gonna take a little while, so lets show some patience! 10 games in and we should be starting to see some fruit!

As Cookie said, good preseasons can lead to poor starts and poor preseasons can lead to good starts!
13

Dissboyitfc added 20:32 - Jul 31
"they" not the
0

dirtydingusmagee added 20:35 - Jul 31
the spotlight will be on you now PC, can you deliver ? form so far is not covincing,
2

brassy added 20:58 - Jul 31
sorry bazza down clicked by mistake.
0

Bildestoned added 21:20 - Jul 31
Anyone else think that sounded like a PL post-match interview?
4

Woodbridgian added 21:51 - Jul 31
Unfortunately sounds like someone who has burned his house down then complaining he’s homeless. Yes it going to take a time for this team to gel but the level of change was always going to produce this type of result. Going to be a very interesting first 10 games.
0

NorwegianTractor added 22:12 - Jul 31
A loss against a decent Championship team is nothing to cry about, preseason or midseason. All the talk about a new team is also of course a valid point to make, but it might not be as bad as everyone thinks. In our League a majority of teams (16 of 24) have lost 10 or more players since last season, and it's not only us who have brought in over 10 new players. 3 other teams have done so as well and 11 more teams have brought in 7-9 new players. Our two first league game opponents Morecambe and Burton have brought in 15 and 12 new players so far. So it looks like the first rounds will be a lot of players that dont know each other all around the board - lets just hope ours have more quality and that PC and his staff can make a decent team out of them. Of course no other team got rid of as many as we have - and we might still get a few new faces in - all I can say so far is it looks like the new owners, Mark Ashton and PC is doing a hell of a job trying to get this club back where it belongs. Keep supporting our team and have a little faith.
8

barrystedmunds added 22:18 - Jul 31
A welcomed dose of much needed reality!
4

Bert added 23:00 - Jul 31
I have no idea if Cook is the right man or not but the acquisitions suggest he has the right team behind him. That will count for a lot, add the obvious change in culture and I remain confident that we will be at least a top six team this season.

We did ok against Palace, well beaten by Millwall but Rome was not built in a day. We must be patient.
4

bluesteel added 07:27 - Aug 1
will take cook a season to get back to where we were when lambert left

if that's progress you can keep it
-3

bluesteel added 07:28 - Aug 1
and turning portman road into a little piece of liverpool is not appreciated either

this is itfc
-2


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