|Sunderland 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 20th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Cook: We Fully Deserved Something Out of the Game
Saturday, 20th Nov 2021 18:27
Town boss Paul Cook felt his side deserved to take something out of their 2-0 defeat at Sunderland having played very well and having had chances in the first half.
An 85th-minute header from Luke O’Nien and a controversial Aiden McGeady penalty saw the Black Cats to a victory which looked very unlikely for most of the 90 minutes.
“We played well, we played very well in the game, we controlled the game for long, long spells, I didn’t feel we were in any trouble in the game and we’re on the end of a 2-0,” Cook reflected.
“You’ve got to say well done to Sunderland, football’s about results and Sunderland have got the result, so you respect that.”
Asked about the penalty, which was awarded after a Ross Stewart shot struck Toto Nsiala, Cook said: “I’m not going to talk about it, there’s no point, there’s no point, the game’s finished, Sunderland have won 2-0. Crying and whingeing’s not going to help me, is it?
“We had chances to be in the lead, we had chances to be in the ascendancy, we controlled the game as we wanted to. I felt we played very, very well and unfortunately we haven’t got the result. So we say well done to Sunderland and we move on.”
Was the final ball the issue? “It wasn’t in the first half, was it? Especially when we had big moments.
“Second half, I felt the game petered out, if I’m being truthful, where Sunderland were sitting very, very deep. They were happy probably to let us have the ball in areas. We didn’t really look like opening them up, we stopped getting it wide and getting good crosses in.
“And obviously then we’ve ended up on a 2-0 where obviously the goal is the goal, but the penalty decision lads, you couldn’t make it up, could you?
“We’re disappointed with the result, we really, really are because we fully deserved something out of the game, but that’s football, isn’t it?”
Quizzed on whether he has spoken to the match officials, Cook said he hadn’t but cited a first-half incident when Macauley Bonne was punched twice in an incident as Sunderland prepared to take a corner.
“No, there’s no point,” he said. “There is no point, there’s an incident in the first half where one of our players is punched twice. Clear as anything and they don’t see it. There are four of them there, yet he manages to give a penalty that everyone in the stadium was shocked at.
“It is what it is, the referees do their best, there’s no criticism towards the referee. I just in felt those moments that came round they could have done better but there you go.”
Asked whether he feels his side will win more than they lose if the play as they did against the Wearsiders, he added: “Really disappointed because we’ve had good travelling support, we wanted to get a good positive result for our supporters and our club that would see us get in a better position.
“We’ve played quite well today and unfortunately sometimes you don’t get what you deserve, and I’ve been around football long enough to know that if we keep playing like that we won’t have a problem, that’s for sure.”
Cook says Wes Burns missed out having picked up an injury which will sideline him beyond today: “Wes has got a slight hamstring problem from Tuesday night, which is obviously disappointing because it’ll keep him out for a short period of time.”
But the Welshman’s replacement, Sone Aluko, did well on the right of midfield. “Again, we can go through the team and unfortunately for us by the time you break it down we’ve lost the game 2-0,” Cook continued.
“So you can’t be saying ‘Well done’ and patting people on the back. Could we have done a lot more to win the game? I don’t feel we could.
“Were we looking comfortable in the game? Yes, I felt we were and unfortunately we’ve lost, and that’s football.
“I’ve been around it long enough to know you have to take your medicine, we say well done to Sunderland, it’s a long, long season and we’ve got to come back stronger.”
Let alone frustrated to lose, would Cook have been frustrated to draw? “It’s footie. We were frustrated, you’re trying to make a sub or two where you feel we could get more energy on, have we got goals on the pitch? Could we help our team?
“If someone had said to me on 85 or 86 minutes you’d lose the game 2-0 I think I’d have fallen over because I never saw it coming. I never saw it, I felt we were in control of the game.
“We had a lot of possession, albeit in the second half without really looking like scoring but we had big chances in the first half and you’ve got to take your chances, that’s football.”
If one of the first half chances which fell to Bersant Celina had gone in, would that have changed the game? “With the greatest respect, Sunderland would have had to come on to us, the fans demand that here, whereas they were happy to sit off us and let us have possession and at 0-0 I think everyone’s happy with that.
“If we were 1-0 up, I’m not so sure the supporters here would accept that. There might have been more spaces for us to penetrate, unfortunately there weren’t.
“We’ve got great respect for Sunderland, for Lee, for Macca, all the lads here. We’ve lost the game, we have manners and we move on as disappointing as it is.”
Town have now gone two league games without a goal, but Cook says he was similarly pleased with the performance in the 0-0 home draw with Oxford last week.
“I was happy with us last week against Oxford in the second half I thought we played really, really well,” he said.
“Unfortunately you’re always trying to put every piece to a jigsaw and the hardest one as everybody knows it he final one, which is the goals and the finishing.
“But we had chances today, we haven’t come here and just dominated the ball and not looked a threat. In the first half we’ve had big moments and as a visiting team you’re away from home you always know every team has a chance, every team gets an opportunity.
“Sunderland’s were very restricted especially in the second half where territorially they didn’t really bother us, but unfortunately we’ve succumbed. So we say well come to Sunderland and move on.”
Surprisingly, after such a smash and grab victory, Sunderland boss Lee Johnson felt it was one of his side’s best displays of the campaign.
“I think it was one of our best performances” he insisted. “It wasn’t Ajax or Barcelona in their heyday, but we hassled and harried.
“It wasn’t champagne football, we had to deal with their quality but everybody stayed concentrated.”
He added: “I thought it was a tough game for both teams. Ipswich, when their two central midfielders roll out into those pockets they get a lot of control, and they're very good at it.
“But I always felt we could be dangerous when we won the ball back and played a good first pass. It probably wasn't good enough, often enough.
“First twenty minutes we were poor, we had a gameplan and we didn't administer it, but after that I was pretty pleased.
“They had control in the second half, but it's what you do with the ball and we've seen that ourselves this season.
“There's the odd giveaway and I think it was a good League One game that we’ve edged based on that counter-attacking ability.
“Ipswich are a very good side, a really good professional organisation who will be right up there. To get a win, after the recent run we've had, is really important for us and the project.”
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