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Ipswich Town 1 v 2 West Ham United U21
Papa John's Trophy
Tuesday, 14th September 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Cook: We're a Soft Touch That Gives Goals Away
Tuesday, 14th Sep 2021 23:10

Town boss Paul Cook admitted his still winless side are currently a soft touch following their 2-1 Papa John’s Trophy defeat to West Ham’s U21s.

Armstrong Okoflex’s 89th-minute penalty saw the young Irons to victory over a strong Town side, despite Cook having changed everyone aside from Kane Vincent-Young from Saturday’s defeat.

“We made 10 changes, Kane played after coming off on Saturday, we picked a team, no different to the Newport game at home, that we felt was strong enough to win,” Cook said.

“The brutal reality of it, is it bad luck at the minute? I’m not so sure it is bad luck, is there a softness about us that none of us in the stadium? One hundred per cent that’s true, and it’s something that we’ve got to eradicate.

“Newport got one goal [in the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat], every other team that’s come here this year’s got two and Bolton got five.

“The reality at the minute is that we’re a soft touch that just gives goals away. We take the lead, we look OK and then we self-harm, and that’s something that’s got to stop, and it’s got to stop quickly.”

Asked how bothered he was about losing in the competition, a tournament he said previously is his lowest priority, Cook said: “I think by the team picked, we haven’t created any winning mentality or culture at the club as we speak. And we need to do it quickly.

“One hundred per cent, in our list of priorities, and we spoke at the EGM etc, this was bottom of our list, but the team we had tonight probably epitomises where we are as a club.

“That team should be winning that football match and unfortunately it hasn’t, and that’s a big disappointment for us all.”

Inevitably with the Blues having failed to win any of their first eight matches in all competitions, fans are becoming restless with some already calling for a change of boss.

“Pressure builds, that’s absolutely natural in football,” Cook said. “I’ve been around football long enough to know.

“Like I’ve just said to the players in the dressing room, I don’t mind telling you, ‘How long does the newness of us last?’

“It does last, whether you like it or not, it does last. Certainly doesn’t last much longer, that’s for sure, does it? It doesn’t last forever.”

The Blues manager expected better from the first eight matches: “One hundred per cent, without a shadow of a doubt. I’m as disappointed as the supporters. I watched the game at the sidelines. I don’t enjoy watching us play.

“Again, if you’re making changes, where will you get that consistency from? I get that. As a supporter shouted at me, ‘Stop changing the team’.

“But at the minute we’re probably searching for our best team, so until we find that formula the reality is Saturday’s team with injuries, lads coming back, one or two lads available, Bersant Celina’s available for Saturday.

“The reality is we’re an evolving team but none of us like the way we’re evolving, that’s for sure.”

Did he consider sticking with a similar team to one which he fielded at the weekend “There are all those debates. What you’ve got, and I don’t mind saying to you, a lot of these lads, [George] Edmundson’s been out for four or five weeks, would three games in a week be good for him? Would he break down? These are all the debates.

“And you get beat like we have done tonight, all your questions are valid, 100 per cent they’re valid. If we win the game tonight, everyone’s happy, we’ve got our first win and we move on.

“We’re all desperately disappointed, none more so than myself and the staff and we’ll just go away and work harder.”

Cook gave Samy Morsy his debut as skipper in midfield and young centre-half Albie Armin his senior debut.

“Samy Morsy’s had his debut tonight, which was great to familiarise himself with the stadium,” the Town manager continued.

“We’ve got to be better as a group of players. The time for us now, the newness is wearing thin, the reality is that our supporters have left the stadium again tonight for the sixth time this season really, really disappointed.

“As a manager, I hold my hand up, it’s not good enough and I’m not happy with what’s going on myself.”

Asked further about the fan who spoke to him on the way off, he said: “He didn’t want me changing the teams. And again, if you look at the teams picked and all the stuff that we’re doing, we’re trying our best to get minutes into players, we’re trying our best to get up to speed and I’d suggest to everyone, if you get beat 5-2 at home on Saturday, what is our best team?

“We were giving lads an opportunity to say ‘I should be playing’ as Ipswich fans go home tonight, how many of that XI have staked that claim? I’m not too sure too many have.”

The softness of the team was recurring theme in his post-match press conferences towards the end of last season and would have been something Cook was hoping would change given all the switches of personnel.

“I think we’ve just got to be a little bit careful when we’ve had the likes of Christian Walton’s debut Saturday, George Edmundson’s debut Saturday, Hayden Coulson’s been out for a long time with Covid. We have had issues around that,” Cook said.

“I think defensively we’ve got to give these lads a couple or three more games to get up and running but we are all aware that we must get up and running, we’re not stupid people.”

It was Tomas Holy’s error which led to West Ham’s winner but Cook wasn’t pointing any fingers.

“Just keep going, it’s football,” he said. “I’ll never come out and blame keepers and this, that and the other.

“Every goalie that’s been in goal this year has conceded goals at Portman Road for us, so it’s Tomas Holy conceding goals, Christian Walton has and so has Vas [Vaclav Hladky]. So around that we’ve all got to tidy up, every single one of us.”

Kayden Jackson limped off with what looked like an ankle injury in the second half but Cook didn’t know the extent of the problem following the match.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “He just got a knock and he looked quite sharp and lively, to be fair to the kid, so that’s a disappointment for Kayden.”

West Ham U21s coach Dimitri Halajko was delighted with his team's display, particularly defensively.

“It was a really good performance,” he told hos club's official website. “I didn’t think we were at our best on the ball today, we felt we turned it over a bit.

“But when you’re not having the best day on the ball, what you’ve got to show is really good defensive determination and lots of grit to stay in the game and then chances will come your way.

“I think we did that brilliantly, the character we showed to stay in the game and to defend well, not give away any easy goals after the first two minutes.

“At the end, they get that little bit of luck and their reward for all the hard work they showed. It was a really mature performance in that sense.”

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fallguy1234 added 23:16 - Sep 14
These are your players! Bored of the excuses! I don’t care if you’re being honest, stop talking and get coaching. Complete waste of time. Heard it all before

bluesince84 added 23:16 - Sep 14
I’m not even that disappointed anymore to be honest because his fate is already sealed and he knows it. The ONLY question now is when is the trigger pulled and who replaces him ……… Christ Ipswich…. Why can’t we just have nice things ……just for a while …..

Monkey_Blue added 23:19 - Sep 14
Blablahblahblah BSBSBSBS. He’s getting more incoherent and desperate sounding by the game.

dominiciawful added 23:20 - Sep 14
Time is ticking.

MickMillsTash added 23:23 - Sep 14
Another late goal - we don't look fit.


Gilesy added 23:24 - Sep 14
“But at the minute we’re probably searching for our best team”

So how did tonight’s squad selection help you get closer to discovering that?


Gilesy added 23:24 - Sep 14
“But at the minute we’re probably searching for our best team”

So how did tonight’s squad selection help you get closer to discovering that?


IpswichToon added 23:24 - Sep 14
I think we've been through enough manager changes to know throwing a new manager at the problem doesn't help us at all. It looks like we just need to persevere, even if it means no promotion this time round. Although, I still think if we can kick on, reaching the play-offs isn't too much of an ask with this team.

ChrisR added 23:28 - Sep 14
He is toast .
No clue what to do , or who should do it .
Makes even Lambert sound coherent , sick of his scouse drivel , suggest he and his crony kit man and so called coaches head back to wherever they came from soon as Ashton can get any manager with some idea how to win more that 4 games out of 28!


DavefromWatford added 23:30 - Sep 14
He said Celina will be fit for Saturday. If Edwards is also fit then i think the side & system to face Lincoln should be. Walton,Burns,Edmondson,Burgess.Coulson,Celina,Carroll,Morsy,Edwards,Bonne &Piggott. 442.
Please do not play 4,3,2,1 Cook.

rfretwell added 23:39 - Sep 14
Christ I wasnt expecting to lose that one! High scoring Lincoln away next then Sheff Wed. Hard to see Celina being enough to swing them our way given our porous defence.

MickMillsTash added 23:40 - Sep 14
What would Lambert be able to do with this squad ?
Honestly I think he'd do better.

fallguy1234 added 23:40 - Sep 14
Davefromwatford…Morsy can’t play Saturday

Davidwb20 added 23:52 - Sep 14
All talk and no do Cook!!! Absolute joke. I am fed up with listening to Mr Excuse.

Gr33ngr455 added 00:05 - Sep 15
Think Ashtons next job, will be to get a Manager in who can win games. Ipswich board are very quite, at the moment and Cook can’t blame the team. When they lose to Lincoln on Saturday we will be further behind. Cook will be gone by the end of the month I think.

Oldozblue added 00:06 - Sep 15
Hindsight - a good manager/coach should be able to improve a group of professionals. Cook clearly did not do this after he took over last season with several games to go. The Cowley's did at Portsmouth at least getting them into the playoffs. Cook preferred the headlines of "demolition man". Now he has his "own" team whom he claims to know all about but it is still not happening. It is ideally too early to change him given we have got his squad. He is such an "ego' people assume he will not have a coach imposed on him. But that is what Ashton needs to do - either a young, smart tactician who would not get their own managerial job yet - or an experienced "Director of Football" who has been there and done that as a manager. If he will not accept this he needs to be shown the door as soon as practicable.

DifferentGravy added 00:08 - Sep 15
8 games into the season and bemoaning players that arent fit. I agree......some of them dont look fit......but then why arent they.......why did he make so many signings that arent going to be up to speed by this time? I cant bare to look for our result on Saturday.....because the tactics and formation will be the same.....and some of the players are clearly not fit. A home win is nailed on. Ok.....there have been ridiculous defensive howlers......but we are giving the opposition so much space to attack in behind our full backs and in the centre of the pitch. Sort it out defensively....a solid foundation.....really isnt difficult. Stop conceding goals and we might actually win.

But without a win and confidence....I dont know how Cook can possibly turn this around. Do we just keep chugging along.....hoping eventually.....after 23 games.....players avoid further injury and are finally up to speed?!

runningout added 00:25 - Sep 15
One thing about our new owners, they are not mugs! V Lincoln at Lincoln always seems a good game and they generally are up for it more than us. I like PC and hope he succeeds with us or not

raycrawfordswig added 00:34 - Sep 15
Do your job and sort it out.

arc added 00:58 - Sep 15
I honestly have lost track—who's the goalkeeper coach? Because whoever it is: something is very wrong!

shakytown added 01:05 - Sep 15
No Paul all we are is a poorly managed dis-organized rabble. No structure and no plan and that is only one persons fault.

bobble added 01:44 - Sep 15
wheres burley ?

Suffolkboy added 02:57 - Sep 15
Same old, same old ,same old !
ALL these players were his choices for the side,most his own choice imports and yet he can not get them together to sing from the same hymn sheet : only simple questions to answer ! WHAT -will it take -HOW - will it be achieved - WHERE -will the changes occur or be made -WHY -can’t his Management and coaching team do more and better - and WHEN -does he expect to either start producing a winning formula, or be asked to quit as a failure ?
Finally, though , are we really not yet fit and why, or is it we’ve the poorest morale which is sinking and introducing a deadly lethargy throughout ?
The answers need to come from the top of the pyramid ; WE await !!

jayceee added 03:05 - Sep 15
Paul 'Goose' Cook

JewellintheTown added 05:51 - Sep 15
Moan, moan, moan, moan, moan, moan...
Will the moaning on this forum ever stop!
Who REALLY cares about losing tonight's match? Anyone, or just another chance to moan like old women?
Who really cares when loads of the team were exiled players we want shot of or need to get game time so Cook can see what they're like or blood young or new players? We all know that's the case. Do some of you really need to spout the same old drivel as if we've just lost a cup final. Give it a break.
Sir Bob would be embarrassed at what's going on at the club, not because of the score line or staff but at the wimpy attitudes of some "poor me" supporters trying to ride the sympathy train.
Only balls that need a good kicking are between the legs of some of the ignorant supporters.
Suck it up, support the long term vision & let's see where it gets us.

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