Cook: We Deserved to Win, Why Not Try and Go All the Way?
Tuesday, 9th Nov 2021 23:32
Town boss Paul Cook felt the Blues had deserved to beat Colchester United over 90 minutes rather 4-3 on a penalty shoot-out, the game having ended 0-0, and is now looking ahead to a possible final at Wembley.
The result sees the Blues progress to the knockout phase of the Papa John’s Trophy for the second time.
“I thought we were excellent, I’ve got to say,” he said. “Everyone will have their own opinion. A team who haven’t played together, [Scott] Fraser and [Rekeem] Harper in the middle of the pitch, I thought both were excellent on the night, a lovely balance in the team.
“I thought [Sone] Aluko was excellent, [Conor] Chaplin’s a constant threat, you go right through the team. I thought we had a lot of really good performances.
“I said to the guys before the game, and I don’t mind saying, the starting XI had the shirts after the Wycombe game, they were the team.
“And unfortunately after Saturday’s game they put the shirts on the table and said ‘Does anyone want to take mine?’.
“And that’s what competition’s like at good clubs, you must have competition for places and as a manager I’m not scared to make changes, that’s for sure.”
Did players involved tonight make a case for themselves to be in the team against Oxford on Saturday? “One hundred per cent, without a doubt, that’s what we want. We know we’ve got good players.
“It was really disappointing to get beaten by Newport here [in the Carabao Cup] in what I felt was a very similar performance where we played very, very well and unfortunately when you play well, you don’t always get your just deserts.
“Tonight, I feel we deserved to win. Colchester are a really good side, they’re a good club, they come here and they’ve got numbers behind them, they parked the bus at times and made it really difficult but were always a threat on the break.
“I’m really pleased, I love see supporters leaving stadiums happy and that was great to see.”
Also among those happy was Gamechanger director Ed Schwartz, at Portman Road for the first time.
“It was great for Ed to be at the game,” Cook continued. “We’ve had a couple of meetings with him today and obviously the fans’ forum, which I thought went very well last night.
“To see your owners around, Brett [Johnson] last time and Ed this time, the other guys I know are itching to get over and see us.
“It was great to see Portman Road so happy at the end of the game. You desperately want to get through.
“People look at games as a problem and I just don’t understand that. In the modern-day world, if you want to be a successful club, you’re going to play more games than everyone, long may it continue for us.”
Fraser started for the first time for Town in one of the two deeper central midfield positions.
“He gives us really good balance with his left foot, he sees passes, he’s got a consistency in retaining possession,” Cook added.
“As you can see, we want to move the ball from side to side, it’s hard to go through teams.
“And again, just pleased, Scotty’s done really well, he’s obviously had a bit of a bang on his knee which has held his progress up, from getting back in the team.
“Tonight, I think he was just feeling his knee a little bit at the end again. Unfortunately, we had to make two subs at half-time again, the full-backs.
“Kane had a bang on his shoulder and Myles Kenlock was ill. He was ill yesterday, he declared for today but was vomiting at half-time, so again we’re making two subs at full-back that we don’t want to make.
“We want to keep the strength of the team at the top end, so that’s a disappointing aspect.
“But we’re in the next round, it’s a good competition, there’s a final at Wembley and for us and our supporters, why not try and go all the way?”
Asked whether the squad practiced penalties, Cook said: “No, you can’t recreate that pressure. People can say you can practice pressure, but you can’t recreate it.
“Great credit to our players, great credit to Vaz [Vaclav Hladky] for making a big save, I think it’s hit the post and come out for the last one. He’ll be disappointed but it’s great experience for him.”
Was who took the penalties down to him or did the players make the decision themselves?
He added: “I just think we had a good team performance tonight, the crowd was good, a fantastic crowd in for a Papa John’s Trophy game and I’m really, really pleased and we’re in the next round, which is great.”
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