|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Crewe Alexandra|
SkyBet League One
Sunday, 28th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Cook: One of the Most Special Goals I've Ever Seen
Sunday, 28th Nov 2021 18:36
Boss Paul Cook hailed Bersant Celina’s first-half injury-time chip, which proved the winner in Town's 2-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra, as one of the most special goals he has ever seen.
The Kosovan’s brilliant effort added to an early Luke Offord own goal to give the Blues a 2-0 half-time lead with Chris Long pulling one back for the Railwaymen in the second half.
Town started like a house on fire but the final minutes ended up nervy for Town, who missed chances and allowed Crewe, who remain bottom, to have opportunities of their own.
Cook admitted that in the early stages it looked like it was going to be a comfortable win for his team.
“As a manager, I watch the games no differently than our supporters and we are what we are,” he said. “This is the team that we’ve got and I know fans will ask why one or two other people weren’t playing and I get it, I do really get it.
“But you’re trying to build confidence, you’re trying to put lads back out there to go again. We wanted to play much more aggressively because, like I said to the players, if we send the supporters to sleep, it’s our job to wake them up.
“And the only way you’ll wake them up is by creating chances, putting crosses in the box and scoring goals, and we looked like we wanted to do it.
“But then we just look like we want to stop. Why would you get tired of being good at what you’re doing? But that’s we’re at with these players.
“You knew the third goal in the game was always going to be a big goal because it’s going to dent one team’s confidence and Crewe never went away all game.
“Crewe were exceptionally good today, they play with an identity and a style that’s great credit to [manager] Dave [Artell] and his staff
“You’d never know their league position and they put us unbelievable pressure where at the end we were hanging on, but we’ve won.”
Where does that inconsistency within games stem from? “We can only give them messages, we can only send them out. I think you’d think it was something that we’re trying to tell them.
“I think we’re now 20 games in, I think the consistency is our inconsistency and that’s probably something that we’re going to have to manage for a period of time.”
Regarding the game’s highlight, Celina’s goal, Cook said: “What a goal, it’s a goal that should win any game, that can lift up any stadium. I think people should be talking about it for a long time.
“Bersant’s got that quality. That was why we were all excited to sign him, all excited to bring him back in and obviously it’s lit the game up today and great credit to Bersant for that.”
He added: “I think that’s what everyone should leave the stadium speaking about. I think today it was always going to be a bit of nervy game, you’re playing a team that’s bottom of a league that everyone expects you to beat.
“You’ve seen Crewe play today, Crewe are no duck eggs, Crewe are a very well-drilled, well-coached team and you get a moment from Santi on the stroke of half-time.
“I’ve been in lots of stadiums all through my life and that’s one of the most special goals I’ve ever seen.
“An unbelievable goal. I remember Steven Gerrard scoring one against Middlesbrough at Anfield years ago when he’s just hit a missile from about 45 yards.
“Today when Santi got it, like the crowd I’m thinking ‘Take it into the corner and we’ll go in 1-0’ because that was where we were at. And he just produces that moment of magic that only probably he in the team has got. Unbelievable, a fantastic goal.”
Cook also had praise for Sone Aluko, who returned to the team having missed the Rotherham match following his father’s death and created Offord’s third-minute own goal.
“Sone’s had a tough week obviously, he’s missed a bit of training so we always felt he might be a little bit leggy,” the Blues manager continued. “But he always gives us moments of magic, Sone. Again he’s a quality player.
“We wanted that start to kick us on to have a really strong home win. OK, we’ve only had really one disappointing performance against Rotherham and that would have given us all a lift. We haven’t got that performance today but we’ve got the win.”
It wasn’t that Town didn’t have chances, on another day they might have had four or five: “The moments in games come and you must take them. For any striker, any player, any flair player, when the chances come, if you don’t put teams away, they will still [keep coming at you], especially in these divisions now where teams are so well coached. There are no easy games.
“Crewe will keep knocking on the door like they did and they’ll take a bit of a chance with their shape late on where they’ll throw men forward, and they did, and we were hanging on at the end.
“Like I just said to the players, at three o’clock today, the big objective was to win and come the end of the season no one will remember how you’ve won, like no one will remember how we lost at Sunderland last week.”
Macauley Bonne has now gone five games without a goal but Cook has no doubt the 11-goal top scorer will be back finding the target soon.
“Football’s football,” he reflected. “Macauley’s now going through that stage where probably as month ago everything he touched was gold. Now all of a sudden he’s trying too hard and that’s football.
“Macauley just needs to get his shirt on, go out and play again and score a goal, and that’s when confidence will flood back.”
Cook utilised Fraser as one of the deeper two midfielders: “Just trying to get Scotty more involved in the game, he’s one of our most productive players with the ball, certainly passing forward. We had a little look at that. At times we thought it worked well and at other times it didn’t.
“No different than everything we try, we’re trying aspects to see whether it’ll help us be better. Sometimes you feel it does and sometimes you feel it doesn’t.”
Asked how he felt on the bench in the final minutes, he said: “Antagonised, moaning, praying, everything you can do in a game because you never, ever got to the point where if we’d have put one of the chances away [you’d have felt safe].
“Probably Kyle Edwards, where he’d been on a great run and Kyle needs that moment, that would have just lifted the fans, we’d have seen two great goals.
“And those moments have to go your way. And I certainly believe we’ll keep working very hard and make sure that they do.”
Before the game Cook said he felt the players needed to give the fans a lift after the disappointing performance against Rotherham. Did the display against the Railwaymen do that?
“I think the supporters would have demanded a win before the game, I think it was important that we did win. Was the performance good enough to make us all leave happy? No, of course it wasn’t,” Cook admitted.
“But we’ve won. Again, as I keep saying, we’re 20 games in with a brand new squad. We all understand football, we more so than anyone understanding the rules of management and all that comes with it, but somewhere along the lines you have to give players time, managers time to grow that club because if we don’t unfortunately that’s the industry we’re in. Today it was a very, very scrappy win in the end, but it was a win.”
Looking ahead to Wednesday’s Papa John’s Trophy visit by Arsenal’s U21s, he added: “It’s a big week for us this week with three competitions.
“We want to do well in all competitions, it’s something that we suggested to the players, if we could put three wins together this week it would give everyone a lift around Portman Road going into Christmas and post-Christmas. We’ve done one hurdle and we’ve got two big ones to go.”
Crewe manager Artell felt his side deserved to take something from the match despite having given the Blues a two-goal start.
“I thought how we approached the game and how we played we were terrific and deserved something from the game,” he said.
“When you give them a two-goal start it’s even harder, however the fans have seen a team that’s trying to play the right way and we created numerous opportunities.
“I think that’s a credit to the players. I think they have been magnificent today.
“We know that if we keep playing like we’re playing, we are going to win games of football and we are going to keep developing.
“We’re developers, we’ve lost the game, we’re in the performance industry but I think the Crewe fans have probably gone away more happier than the Ipswich fans – apart from the result.”
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