Cook: It's Been a Really Tough Week
Friday, 17th Sep 2021 10:45
Blues boss Paul Cook admits he’s had a tough week following the death of his father, Chris, while Town had two disappointing results.
Despite the back-to-back home losses to Bolton, 5-2, and West Ham’s U21s, 2-1, Cook says there’s no issue with confidence among his players and that he’s not had to put his arm around anyone during the club’s winless start to the campaign.
“No, no, no, no, no, anything but that,” he said. “Football’s a tough industry. We saw Chris Hughton lose his job [as Nottingham Forest manager] this week. Football is a tough, tough industry where it’s a results-drive business. I’ve been around football long enough to know.
“What we need from our players is more of a desire, more of a hunger in them, more of a belief in them. We’ve got to come together as a team.
“And that’s my big thing at the minute. We are a football team, we have got Bersant Celina, we have got Joe Bloggs, we have got this player.
“Individual players only help put the jigsaw pieces together to have a very strong team. What we need to see now is a drive, an energy and work ethic, a desire to win football games, not just on talent but on team spirit and drive, real desire.”
Asked how he is finding things personally at the moment, Cook said: “I’ve probably had a tough week as I think as everyone knows my father passed away last week, so that was really tough. So it has been tough, yes, really tough.”
Having said it’s going to take time for the Blues to become the side he wants them to be, Cook was quizzed on whether he believes he will be given that time.
“When I was brought in, and I understand every question, as a manager, if you’re going to feel and prepare from a day-to-day, game-to-game basis, you’ve got no chance. You’ve got absolutely no chance,” he said.
“I believe that there’s a long-term project at our football, something that I was very much brought in to help with along with the players. They need my help, they need my help.
“I’m not going to get into my record or what we’ve done in the game because the past has got nothing to do with the future.
“The future for us is that we are a brand new team that must work hard together to get better and I do believe that is coming.
“But until we get the likes of [Samy] Morsy and Bersant Celina and Edwards and [Toto] Nsiala back available, then the brutal truth is that we’ve just got to keep working hard.
“If you look at Lincoln as a team, Bolton as a team, MK Dons as a team, every team we play, Cheltenham, who have just been promoted, all they’ve got on us is the experience of being a team.
“Our newness at the minute is really hurting us, our newness will go away soon. Time and games will bring our lads together and will see us put a run of results together that our supporters will be proud of.”
What’s turned things around when there have been similar spells at his other sides? “At all my clubs, with the greatest of respect, at all football clubs you have low moments. People don’t speak about the low moments, they only look back on your success.
“At Portsmouth we won the league by beating Cheltenham 7-1 but about four or five weeks before that we lost to Crewe 1-0 at home and everyone thought the world had ended.
“Football’s football. Football doesn’t change, my beliefs on the game won’t change. My desire to win games doesn’t change. At the minute, my players need my help, absolutely, and together we will take this club where we want to be.”
He added: “We’re six league games in. We lost two cup game competitions where we’ve made 10 or 11 changes. It just shows you how mad the football world has become, and that’s the football world today guys, that’s the world we live in.
“We brought 19 players into a football club and we still have lads yet to make debuts in the team who are good players.
“So I live with all that goes on, that’s a world I know that’s there. At times at other clubs, probably Pompey fans have probably wanted me sacked at some times. I’m sure Wigan fans have wanted me sacked at some times. But I pride myself on the job I’ve done at all of my clubs.
“And today, I’m sure there’s an element of Ipswich fans that think I should be doing better, and I get it. My big message to them is they have a manager who will work very hard to deliver them success, do not worry about that.”
Following the defeat to Bolton, Cook says that that kind of performance wouldn’t be repeated once Samy Morsy was in the team. Morsy still has two games of his ban from his Middlesbrough days left, can Town avoid a repetition in the matches before the Egyptian international is available?
“We’ll know at five o’clock tomorrow night, won’t we?” Cook reflected. “I think that’s the big thing for football - when you make mistakes, the biggest privilege you can be given is the chance to put something right.
“As a manager at previous clubs, I’ve always quite enjoyed when we’re really low picking the same team again. Unfortunately for us, at the minute, picking the same teams is difficult for whatever reason.
“I’m a great believer in loyalty, I trust my players, and there are so many qualities that I want to give the players.
“Sometimes these decisions are taken out of your hands. As a club now, we are searching to see our identity. We must find [that] out myself, the staff and the players together, and that’s the challenge because Samy will be out for more games, someone else won't be playing.
“But we’ve brought in George Edmundson, we’ve brought in Cameron Burgess, they are aggressive people who weren’t aggressive last Saturday, and that’s not a criticism.
“It was George’s debut at Portman Road and we’ve got to be better. George is a man. And you can go right through the team, Christian Walton, everyone is new and when you’re new, you get periods of time to be better.
“My world is to make sure these lads are aware of what we’ve done wrong, and the same mistakes don’t keep happening again.”
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