|Cheltenham Town 2 v 1 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 17th August 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Cook: The Reality is We Need a Little Bit of Time to Gel
Tuesday, 17th Aug 2021 22:58
Town boss Paul Cook said his team will need a little bit of time to gel following their 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham.
Reflecting on the result the Blues manager said: “It’s just so disappointing, isn’t it? I think for our supporters, who travelled in great numbers again.
“I would suggest we started the game really well, we looked a really dangerous side and unfortunately we end up defending our 18-yard box for too many throw-ins.
“Two bounces of the ball go against us, one for Macauley [Bonne] to put us 2-0 up, the other a bit of a disappointing goal, if you like.
“Then all of a sudden we’re back on the end of another two goals against. I think, as you know, all good teams are built on solidity and unfortunately for us at the minute, we’re not as solid as we’d like to be, and that’s for sure.”
Is that going to take time? “I understand everyone’s questions, I’ve been around football all my life, I understand the fans’ expectancy, everyone’s expectancy.
“We’ve had Tom Carroll making his debut, we’ve had big [Cameron] Burgess making his debut, we’ve Hayden Coulson on the bench for the first time, we’ve got lads injured, we’re not making excuses.
“The reality is we need a little bit of time to gel, a little bit of time to get everyone together, but we also should be doing better than we are with the players that we have available. There’s a little bit of both tinged in there.”
Does he see signs that the first win of the season is coming? “I think we’ve played three games, haven’t we? When Macauley chips it over the lad’s head and he’s in on goal with no goalie at 1-0 up, I think even you might think it’s coming!
“As a manager, I try to be as calm as I can because it’s easy after the game, especially the way football is, we’re Ipswich Town, everyone will go the extra yard to beat us, I get that.
“For our lads now, the last thing we need is me shouting and screaming at them because I feel pressure. I don’t feel pressure. I feel pressure to get the team to perform to the ability that I can, I feel pressure then to get the players on the pitch that we’ve signed, the Chaplins, the Edmundsons and the like, Coulsons.
“We’ve got a lot of good players who haven’t even played yet. The reality is we’re searching for that first win, I get that. Hopefully it can come on Saturday.”
Asked what he says to fans who might be getting a little bit edgy, he said: “I get it, I 100 per cent get it for Ipswich Town fans.
“I think when, as a manager, and again everyone will always have their opinions, and I respect everyone’s opinions, when you have the changes at the club that we’ve had, if people think we’re just going to get up and running and everyone will click, Cameron Burgess has only just met Woolfy. We’re asking them to then go and play together.
“Vaz [Vaclav Hladky] has never met Burgess and we’re asking them to then go and play against a team that put you under pressure, so a little bit of sanity must prevail, whilst we’re very, very disappointed, of course we are.”
Cook had praise for Kyle Edwards, who was hugely impressive in the first half and felt the former West Brom man wasn’t given the ball enough after the break.
“Outstanding. He’s going to be a fantastic player for the club, I think you can see why we courted him for so long,” he said.
“Great credit to our owners again for pursuing such a quality player. And again, it’s integrating him quickly.
“We’ve got to get him the ball, I think it’s quite clear for everyone in the stadium to see the quality the lad possesses, and for some reason we stopped getting him the ball.
“As I say, I don’t understand that, but it’s something that we’ll go back and we’ll analyse and look at.”
Cook was also pleased with Burgess’s debut, the centre-half having signed from Accrington Stanley on Sunday.
“I thought he was outstanding,” he said. “Again, you’re talking about lads who travelled on the bus yesterday, they haven’t even been in the building.
“We’ve got to just be careful that we’ve put such a good squad together, which is given, the reality, we expect to win every game.
“We’ve also got to factor in how hard the opposition want to beat us. Tonight probably 1100, 1200 Ipswich Town fans travelled, all after work, fantastic support and it makes a cup-tie atmosphere. We’ve got to build our lads to be resilient to see these games out.”
Quizzed on whether the signing of Tom Carroll, the Blues’ 16th of the summer, will be the end of his recruitment drive, he responded: “Again, you never know, you never know in football. We’ll just see what it brings.
“You’ve got to have a little bit of manners when you get beat, and I always try to. I’m deeply hurt as you can imagine, especially after being 1-0 up and it’s looking good. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone our way, and as I say we just keep working hard.”
Is he happy to go into the season with the squad as it is? “You know yourself, it’s football, it’s a long season, you need all your players fit and available.
“The reality for us is that we’ve had a massive overhaul in players, we’ve got a few injuries. They’re not excuses, they’re just statements of fact, they’re not excuses to why we haven’t won tonight or we haven’t won at Burton.
“The big moments are not going our way at the minute and we must make them go our way.”
Currently sidelined are Toto Nsiala, James Norwood, Conor Chaplin (all hamstring), Sone Aluko and Will Burns. Asked whether any of those are serious long-term issues, Cook said: “No, no, no. The injuries aren’t an excuse for the performance tonight.
“I thought our performance at times was OK. And you guys watch it. Sometimes we have a lot of possession without any penetration and unfortunately when teams sit low against you and counter-attack, it’s a lot more difficult than people think.
“We gave a goal away against Morecambe, against Burton, where people have not really been in the ascendancy in the game but they’ve scored.
“Tonight after 60 minutes, we looked very comfortable in the game and we end up losing 2-1. That’s the learning curve.”
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff was pleased with his side's performance and victory over one of the division's bigger clubs.
“It's just a win, but a good win against a big team obviously,” he told Gloucestershire Live. “The second part of the first half and in the second half we were excellent.
“We were more aggressive and got on the front foot. We asked the back three to be a little bit braver and the wing-backs to go really narrow because they caused us problems in the first 20 minutes with their shape, a sort of box in the middle of the pitch and we couldn't quite seem to land on it.
“Ultimately, the performances, the desire, the togetherness, we had to ride our luck - their chance at 1-0 is probably a big one in the game now, looking at that.
“We looked a threat and it was a really good performance. Hopefully the supporters will see that and they came along with it as well. Hopefully we'll have a few more of those days.”
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