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Cook: Our Inconsistency is Our Consistency
Saturday, 6th Nov 2021 18:33

Town boss Paul Cook admitted his side’s consistency is their inconsistency after they followed up Tuesday’s brilliant 4-1 win at Wycombe with a lacklustre 1-1 FA Cup draw with League strugglers Oldham Athletic at Portman Road.

Asked what he made of the match, Cook told the media afterwards: “Probably the same as you. I think you’ve probably already written your paper, your scripts and everything else.

“I picked the same team that four nights ago probably had a standing ovation from an ecstatic support and I’ve watched the exact same players today, play like that.

“Sometimes as a manager you just look a the floor and shake your head. Because our inconsistency is our consistency.

“We didn’t respect the game today, we didn’t show an appetite to win a football game, we didn’t have the hunger that good teams have to turn up and you’ll probably see that throughout the football calendar today. I would imagine there will be a lot of similar results around.

“But Oldham were good value for a draw today, we didn’t create enough chances. You can just write a book on what we did wrong. Like I said to the players, we have to go to Oldham on a Tuesday night now and put it right, and that’s something that we’re going to have to do.”

Does that inconsistency leave him scratching his head? “No, because that’s our team. At the minute that’s what we’ve put together. As a manager, sometimes you’re quite cool and comfortable when you actually know what players will do.

“So for me as a manager, going forward as a club, we want a lot more consistency from our players, we want a lot more where we turn up and we know what we’re going to get.

“Even it was a difficult day for today, which it was, we should have found a way to win, so we could have all gone home tonight saying that we weren’t quite at it, we were disappointing but we’re in the next round.

“Unfortunately for us, we relied a great save from Christian Walton from the penalty to still be in the hat.”

Quizzed on what the penalty, which Walton saved from Dylan Bahamboula, was awarded for, Cook said: “You’ve got to be careful. I’m not criticising referees but if you start giving them for bits of pulling, then the reality is you’d be giving a lot of penalties in games.

“As I say, Oldham did deserve a draw, credit to [Latics manager] Keith [Curle] and his staff and the players. For us, off the back of a great performance on Tuesday night, that was a really disappointing one, but at least we didn’t get beat.”

Having got off to a great start when Wes Burns gave them the lead in the eighth minute, Cook was asked whether there was some complacency from his players.

“We’ve had perfect starts, we took the lead against West Ham’s U21s here, against Newport we kicked in,” he recalled.

“We’ve had many games where we’ve sat there and, same as you, we’ve been thinking ‘Here we go’. Today was absolutely no different.

“So we’ve got to just keep working at it, they’ve got to eradicate mistakes, ill-discipline sometimes with free-kicks still stands out, but most importantly, if you’re a good player, you have to have a mentality that every time you cross a line on a pitch, you give a percentage of a performance.

“Today our percentages of performance were way down, and that’s something that myself, the staff, we’ll all take on board. We all win together, draw together and unfortunately lose together, and that’s what we’ll do.”

Does the inconsistency concern him? “How can it worry me going forward? No, because I think, as I’ve said to you guys quite regularly, the opposition is quite irrelevant to how we play at the minute, it’s about us.

“I would imagine, hopefully, the bigger the game, the bigger the occasion, I would imagine, probably the bigger the performance, but let’s watch this space.”

Cook had said before the game that he wanted a cup run and his side, featuring one injury-enforced change from Tuesday, illustrated that.

“I said to the fans coming off, you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t, aren’t you?” he reflected.

“That on paper was our strongest team, especially after Tuesday night’s performance where to a man everyone got all the plaudits they deserved. Yet today we just looked a shadow of that team.”

Town now face a replay at Boundary Park, probably played a week on Tuesday, a trip to the North-West which will be unwelcome a few days prior to the Blues’ game at Sunderland.

“I’ve got family in the North-West, I’m absolutely delighted with the players for playing like that and getting me back there!” Cook joked.

“No, the games come thick and fast, we’ve got a big enough squad to manage every situation. The disappointing thing today is for our supporters, we all wanted to get through. I think the team reflected that and we all leave the stadium tonight probably a little bit disappointed and rightly so.”

Had Cook made the 10 or 11 changes that fans have become used to in cup competitions then he would have been on the end of significant flak.

“That’s football today, and as a manager you are as good as your players,” he continued.

“At the minute we are a very inconsistent team, that’s the truth, who show really good signs at times of coming through that inconsistency and being a little bit more consistent but today was a really flat, lacklustre performance from a team who just didn’t turn up.

“And once you don’t turn up, you find it very hard to change from the gear you’re in to go into another one.

“Now we’ve got to go up to Oldham on a Tuesday, which will be a very difficult game. It’s a great opportunity for Oldham, I thought their supporters were terrific today and I thought the team was terrific. So good luck to them, we lick our wounds as we do and we go away.”

Cook confirmed that it will be a very different Town side which faces Colchester in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday evening.

“The team will change on Tuesday,” he continued. “We’ve got a lot of players that want to play and that will be reflected in that team selection.

“I think the fans who pay good money to come in, I think they can be quite comfortable knowing that that’s the situation, so if they want to pay their money, that’s what will be turned out.”

Oldham head coach Keith Curle felt all his team played a part in their display.

“Before the game I gave the players a maths equation, that if 10 outfield players give one per cent extra we'll end up with 10 per cent extra,” he said.

“Everyone's got to play their part in giving that little bit extra and giving us that advantage, and I thought we did that. I thought we were brave, I thought the players understood the gameplan and I thought we executed it very well.

“One slight disappointment is I think we had a few opportunities where we could have hurt them a little bit more with the ball entering the final third and got a little bit too excited when we had an opportunity. It could have been a different scoreline.

“We're respectful, we know we're playing against a very good football team.”

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fallguy1234 added 18:34 - Nov 6
Don’t think we can blame cook for today. Players need to look at themselves

Bert added 18:37 - Nov 6
100% correct. Lacklustre and flat.

ringwoodblue added 18:42 - Nov 6
For once, I can’t disagree with any of Cook’s comments. He calls it as it is - we are too inconsistent and unless he and the coaching staff can address it, our season will be very stop-start.

BeethorpeAndy added 18:55 - Nov 6
Highlight of mine and my 13 yr old son was our hot dogs!!! Say no more! Bloody woeful.

SickParrot added 19:35 - Nov 6
The only thing that these players have done consistently is follow up a really good performance with a poor one. I have to question the mentality of the players. They seem to show complacency and consequently lose intensity after a good performance.

Help added 19:51 - Nov 6
Agree with everything you said tonight Cookie. Sitting in the West stand listening to how angry you were getting even in the first half was insightful. Players did not perform to the required or their own expected standards.

Beethorpe Andy I assume the dogs were not bought from the ground as those rollover dogs are the dogs, so you must mean one from the independent stalls around the ground

EuanTown added 19:53 - Nov 6
At least the replay will be on a Tuesday night and we will be in white. We all know how that will end then. We like Tuesday nights.

BeethorpeAndy added 19:59 - Nov 6
Just to add to my earlier moan. Oldham were up for it more than us. Perhaps Cook should of played a fringe player team desperate for some football! Also, only 8800 today. Why? Only a tenner a ticket! Lowly Oldham brought nearly 500! and were heard in a very quiet Portman road. We will need real desire again to match Oxford next Saturday. Reaction needed!

BeethorpeAndy added 20:04 - Nov 6
HELP. Yes independent stall!!!!!!!! We were in the west stand. Cook weren't happy!

runningout added 20:28 - Nov 6
It’s as if as a group they need a rocket up their bums at 1, 2, or 3 nil up. Games are never won over 60, 70 or 80 minutes

jas0999 added 20:55 - Nov 6
As the manager of the football club, it’s his job to ensure we are consistently good. No excuses now, not with the backing and the squad. So fat Cook has failed to gain any consistency, which is a real concern. After Tuesday, the performance should have been a given. This was a truly abysmal result. I’m surprised Gamechanger are content with this.

shakytown added 21:18 - Nov 6
More than a few of these players are totally bloody arrogant and did not give Oldham any respect at all. Can see why they were allowed to leave their clubs to come here. Talent is one thing having the desire is another.

Radlett_blue added 23:04 - Nov 6
Indeed, I expected Cook to make umpteen changes, but he played his strongest side. Sometimes, you can't win as a manager.

blues1 added 23:20 - Nov 6
Jas0999. Having said to my mate only the other day that ur comments had been far more balanced recently, u resort to type. How u can blame Cook for the players performance is beyond me. Or do u think they played that way by his instruction to do so? That is totally down to the players. Once they cross that white line its up to them to perform. And as for ur comment about "fat Cook"? How rude and disrespectful.

adamisablue2 added 23:32 - Nov 6
I mean what did he expect? He has by and large picked the same side that has had a really tough 5 game cycle which included 3 very long and cold away days in the form of portsmouth, Plymouth and Wycombe (travelling really does take the energy out of the player) and wants to play all out gung ho attack with high intensity. Its really not rocket science to figure out that this style of play with the same players 100 percent of the time will lead flat performances like this one.

Not only will it leave the other players wondering what they have to do to get into the team but eventually we will run out of steam. Because now we have knackered snd burned out our [arguably] best eleven before two massive promotion six pointers which include travelling the of the country and, on top of that, we will have to travel up to Oldham midweek for the replay which is another long away day. All of this could have been avoided by simply making a few changes and maybe have another formation or two so that the players can not burn out (and still get the result) because at this rate, the players are going to falter when the games get to the high stakes table.

Whilst I am in no way a cook out kind of guy, he really does need to start planning ahead and start utilising the squad to be a bit smarter about match days and play the right formation for the right team otherwise we will end up falling short.

Bad_Boy_Mark added 23:43 - Nov 6
@blues1 I think Jas made a typo. The sentence should begin "So far Cook has failed to gain any consistency"

RobbieBobson added 23:47 - Nov 6
Luke Hyam made a comment on Radio Suffolk to say that this team seems to perform better when its deemed to be the 'underdog'. Which I tend to agree with. I would even go a little further and suggest that there is an element of arrogance against 'lesser' sides which means we try as hard as we should and end up getting done. Good teams give all opposition the same level of respect and go at them with 100%. We cant afford complacency

Eddie1985 added 01:40 - Nov 7
Jas0999 is spot on
As the manager who brought all these players to the club and works with them everyday he is responsible for ensuring performance level and that standards are maintained. If the players ate being complacent or lazy he needs to sort it out. He would be cut more slack if he was working with what he was given but he made it clear he could not or would not do that... So the owners gave him what he wanted and he is held accountable for results/ performance... May seem harsh but tgat is the reality of being the manager

phillev231069 added 08:26 - Nov 7
I'm yet to be convinced by Cook and crew but today you have to question the players commitment, at 1-0 we should have gone for the jugular and finished them off but unfortunately arrogance crept in and a game we should have won now has to be played again. I'd like to think they've learnt a lesson from this result but I doubt it very much.

blues1 added 08:49 - Nov 7
Eddie1985.Get real. A manager cannot be judged for whats going on in players heads. He's a football manager, not a psychiatrist. Have had this with the Sunday team I involved with. We won our 1st 5 games of the season against sides expected to be right up there, and convincingly at that. We play the team bottom of the league and are 2 down in 10 minutes. End up scraping a 3-3 draw with almost the last kick of the game. All down to the players who thought all they had to do was turn up, to win. And thats what happened yesterday. Anyone blaming Cook for that needs to givextheirchead a wobble.

Bazza8564 added 09:15 - Nov 7
The players, and only the players, should shoulder the blame for this. Poor coasting attitude at 1-0 and we got a wake up call. If that XI were getting comfortable thinking they are the elite first picks, they should think again.
And like any painful lesson, the manager will learn from it and adjust accordingly. No doubt we will put it right in the replay but we cannot afford to keep getting "surprised" by sides we should be taking to the cleaners.
There is no doubt that sides like Wycombe will be destroyed by our best side when we are focused, but for games where we go in a favorites we clearly need to mix it up.
Just look how much of a lift Sonne Aluko gave us yesterday, totally different intensity.....

thechangingman added 09:55 - Nov 7
In my opinion, it's rarely a distinct either/or whose 'fault' it is between manager and players.
However, I do tend to think that if a manager has assembled his own squad, he needs to take the majority of the blame if things then go wrong.
The dictionary definition of a manager is: 'a person regarded in terms of their skill in managing resources'.
In this regard, Cook isn't showing great skill in managing the resources that HE assembled.
It's harsh that it falls on him, especially in this case, when the players don't seem to care. BUT, that's why the manager gets the Big Bucks - it's literally THEIR JOB to put things together, then effectively lead from the front. If the team does well, they get the rightly-earned credit; if the team does badly, they also get rightly-earned criticism.
I hope with all my heart that we gain some consistency, and play regularly to the best of our potential. In the meantime, Cook has to lead, and take responsibility for that leadership. It's kind of the point of BEING the leader... COYB!!!

Eddie1985 added 10:25 - Nov 7
Blues 1 lol really??!! Its the nature of the beast of being manager mate, you are held accountable for the performance of the players for preparing them physically, tactically and mentally. If your not prepared for that probably best not to apply for the top job. In addition paul cook recruited virtually everyone personally so he is naturally going to be held resposible. The players have responsibility but this us not a one off poor performance against weaker opposition which suggests a pattern, a pattern which requires managment attention. I understand you are a fierce defender of cook and thats fine, im not sure on him but am hapoy to praise when it gies right, you however seem unable to admit that he needs to address an obvious issue with motivation and commitment against weaker sides. Acknowledging that does not equal criticism just a realistic observation

Len_Brennan added 10:30 - Nov 7
@blues1 - Out of interest, at what point would you consider things like poor performance, poor results, lack of consistency, and player arrogance/apathy to fall within the responsibilities of the manager who pretty much sought out & signed them all, decides on line up & formation, coaches, prepares and motivates them?

Bazza8564 added 10:40 - Nov 7
OK so I would describe myself as a big Cook fan, but I think that Eddie 1985 makes a good point about motivation and responsibility. Taking it a step further, I think Cook can be appropriately hard when he needs to, and you will have seen all the showboating, stepovers and fancy tricks that we saw in the first half were nowhere to be seen after the break. Im still confident we will develop from yesterday, win the replay and keep climbing the league.
I am concerned though that what we saw yesterday, the easing off and fancy stuff, is another indicator that when we've got sides by the throat we don't always have the instincts for the kill. Portsmouth, Yes, Wycome, Yes and obviously Donny, buts its been lacking and that mentality is currently a weak spot.

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