|Ipswich Town 0 v 0 Oxford United|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 13th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Cook: We Deserved to Win
Saturday, 13th Nov 2021 18:34
Town boss Paul Cook believed his side did enough to win their 0-0 home draw with Oxford United.
Asked whether a draw was a fair result, he said: “No, I felt we deserved to win, I’ve got to be a bit biased. I thought the first half we were very equal, I think we’ve hit the post twice.
“Oxford are a good side, there’s no getting away from that. Oxford showed their credentials in the game very early on, how they move the ball from side to side, they’ve got good players, have good penetration.
“But I thought in the second half we took control of the game. Kicking into the end we like kicking into, I felt a goal was coming.
“We allowed Oxford only brief counter-attacks in the second half, so I was really pleased with how we played, I was really pleased with everything about our performance today.
“Sometimes you’ve got to assert yourself on a game and make sure it’s a game you don’t lose. I felt we did that well today.”
With Oxford having scored 13 goals in their last five matches in all competitions, Cook was pleased with the clean sheet, the goalless draw having ended a run of 17 consecutive Town league matches in which a goal had been scored.
“[Oxford manager] Karl [Robinson] said [before the game] the the likelihood was that we might cancel each other out,” Cook reflected. “I never felt the game ended up like that.
“I felt in the first half especially, both teams with different styles had their moments at both ends without a doubt, but in the second half I felt very, very comfortable on the bench.
“We really, really turned up a level and I felt we were looking like we were going to score, and unfortunately we just couldn’t produce that moment of magic that would have seen a fantastic crowd go home delighted.
“So we just keep working hard, we keep looking to the next game and we try and do better.”
Cook had praise for Bailey Clements, making his league debut at left-back: “Absolutely outstanding. For our young lads, and I think for everyone at Ipswich Town, we’ve seen such a turnover of players and they’ve all seen how it is to have one of your own playing as well.
“And if you work hard at our football club and you get an opportunity, then the right thing will happen.
“Bailey’s a big Ipswich Town fan, I’m sure his family is very proud of him today and his debut was fully deserved and the way he played, as you can imagine yourself, he’d be hard to leave out.”
Presumably Clements had impressed him in training previously rather than his inclusion having been down to his display as a sub in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday? “We’ve got a very strong U18s and U23s. We believe the first team’s getting stronger and we don’t want to just be a club that buys players, we need to produce our own.
“Ipswich Town over many years has always done that and we’ve seen a lad step up today and have an outstanding [league] debut, so well done Bailey.”
Cook confirmed that Matt Penney wasn’t injured: “No, Matt’s just feeling a little bit of playing a lot of games quickly. The reality is that when you’ve got squads, we have to give lads opportunities and also lads have got to earn the right to play, that’s what big clubs do.
“If you’ve got a shirt at our club, you’ve got to make sure you retain it by your performances on the pitch.
“Matt, no different than anyone else, will be back involved, he will be back in the team because the most important thing is you get back on it and you ride again.”
Asked whether the point might prove to be a good one come the end of the season, Cook said: “One hundred per cent. This is football. When you play good teams, there are always moments in games.
“I thought in the second half we were comfortable in the game and that’s great credit to our players, for listening, for learning and for making sure that when we’re attacking we’re secure at the back.
“Too many times here this season we’ve given goals away when we’re in the ascendency through counter-attacking and transition, but we looked very solid in those departments today.
“We then look to our flair players to get us a goal and unfortunately we couldn’t do that.”
Quizzed on Oxford’s running down the clock in the latter stages with players regularly taking to the turf to waste time, Cook said: “You’ve all watched the game. Karl’s a very good coach, he’s been coaching now for years and his teams go everywhere and play with a really good style, open, aggressive, want to play and today they were hanging on at the end and that’s football.
“Our supporters, they’ve always wanted us to be the aggressive team at Portman Road and don’t want to give up the pitch to anyone, I felt we did that really well today.”
Town have now played three teams towards the top of the division, Plymouth, Wycombe and Oxford and Cook believes the Blues were the better side in each match.
“I think we’ve seen Plymouth, Wycombe and Oxford and with the greatest respect to all three teams, I think we’ve been the better team on the pitch on each occasion,” he insisted.
“While the points tally only say four, another day it might say more. So we’ll travel to all the games now with our supporters believing in the optimism that’s coming.
“One of our owners, Ed Schwartz, was here today and I’m sure he’s really enjoyed the game.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Oldham, he said: “There will be changes but purely on the basis that we want to pick a team to go and win the game. We want to pick a very aggressive strong team. We want to be playing Barrow at home in the next round.
“Like I’ve just said to the lads, big clubs have a lot of football games because they’re on good runs, and that’s what we want to develop into.”
Oxford boss Robinson was pleased with the way his defence prevented the Blues from having too many opportunities.
“We were better first half and they were better second half, the difference in the second half being that we didn’t get close enough to their two holding midfield players,” he told the Oxford Mail.
“We didn’t give them many opportunities, that’s good shape and good defending.The back four has come together, Herbie in front was outstanding again.
“I thought our decision-making in that final third wasn’t great but from our point of view, I’m really pleased with the players, it’s a good point on the road.”
Robinson was booked just before half-time after reacting when he felt Toto Nsiala had fouled Nathan Holland in the box.
“The referee had a big decision to make. If someone doesn’t get the football it’s a foul anywhere else on the pitch,” he insisted. “It’s a big talking point and one I will obviously moan about.”
Robinson dismissed suggestions that his Town counterpart Cook had prevented him from being sent off by pulling him away.
“I embarrassed the referee because he should have given a penalty,” he continued. “I don’t think he would have not given it and sent me off because it would have been the worst 30 seconds of his career.”
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