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Barrow 2 v 0 Ipswich Town
FA Cup
Wednesday, 15th December 2021 Kick-off 19:45
McGreal: Really, Really Poor First Half, the Inconsistency is the Crux of It
Wednesday, 15th Dec 2021 23:24

Interim manager John McGreal admitted that Town’s 2-0 FA Cup replay defeat at Barrow hurt, feeling that his side were once again let down by their inconsistency.

The Blues were two down at the break having been thoroughly bested by League Two’s 19th-placed club. Town were better in the second half but while rarely testing Bluebirds’ keeper Paul Farman.

Asked how the defeat and in particular the first half display felt, former Blues defender McGreal said: “It did hurt because it just shows the level of inconsistency in 90 minutes. Really, really poor first half.

“You can argue it’s quite easy to get on the ball when you’re 2-0 down and they’ve dropped off a little bit, but at least they’ve had a bit of a go in the second half.

“We had to adapt, change the shape just to try and get amongst them. Play from an area, which worked a lot better. I think we’ve caused our own downfall at times playing out from the back and getting caught.

“But guys that needed a game haven’t performed but again the inconsistency from Charlton, even from prior to that, Barrow [at home], Charlton to Wigan to where we are today and how we finished the game. Even within the 90 minutes [you could see] the inconsistency level.

“The only way to get that is to continue working hard and keep the belief and go again. I would not be surprised come Saturday if our guys put on another excellent display like they did against Wigan, just because how they are at the moment.”

McGreal says he feels for the 202 travelling Blues supporters: “Absolutely, I always say that. I always give the fans a mention because they’re diehard fans. Absolutely diehard fans to travel all this way.

“We know how far it is ourselves with travelling today, so for them to do it and now to travel all the way back being in work in the morning and not to have a performance.

“We can push it a little bit for the second-half performance because we gave it a bit of a go but that should be a given really, even in the first half.

“We do feel sorry for them but again come Saturday, there’s going to be close to 30,000 there. With these results at the moment and these inconsistencies, the fans are there to back the lads up.

“They’ve got to get a bit of a break from the players, a Wigan-type performance come Saturday and try and get a win.”

Why does he feel they are so inconsistent? Why was the first-half display so flat? “Honestly, there’s an expectancy from what we’re trying to put on to the guys. Even with [former manager] Paul [Cook] when I’ve watched them train, there’s an expectancy there, it’s just at times, is it a confidence [thing]? Obviously there’s [an element of] confidence, but then sometimes you’ve got to learn and adapt to how the team wants to play and the basics.

“The basics of the second half were ‘We’ve got to have a right go here’ because the first half was a non-event from us.

“And in the second half, we’ve had a bit of a go. And it just proved that if you start the game that way, you can boss the game, which we did in a way in the second half.

“It’s confidence, giving different players game-time, that can all equate to an indifferent performance, especially a poor performance in the first half. But a bit of a better performance in the second half.”

Were there words at half-time? “I’m a proud man, whenever I’m in charge of a team, I want my team to do particularly well, but we can’t sit there and watch that as a caretaker manager.

“Things had to be said, things had to be changed and I’m not scared of changing teams. I’ve done that throughout my career if they’re big names or even lesser names.

“It just happened that we had to go with a different type of energy, we needed to get legs in the team and get the ball in and around their back three, which we did in the second half.”

How were the players at half-time? Angry with their own performance? Frustrated? “Yes, even afterwards as well. I think there’s been so much talk. That’s the thing, there’s too much talk going on in a way.

“You can see that they want to try and do well, even in training. Training’s been good, the guys have been given opportunities in a way, but to now it’s the inconsistency and that’s the crux of it, there’s no getting round that, it’s the inconsistency.

“The players are there, there’s quality in the squad and now it’s just getting back to the drawing board, getting on to the training pitch and working hard again.”

If the defeat is his final game in charge, how has he found the experience of being interim manager? “I’ve enormously enjoyed it. Proud as punch to represent the club.

“I haven’t potentially got the results in the way that the guys were looking for as such, but I don’t think that was the remit, the remit was to give the guys a little bit of time, to come in, try and get the guys in a better place.

“Today’s a little bit of a killer, but again, I take the positive out of the second-half performance, I really do.

“I just think now there’s something to build on because you have to. With the inconsistencies throughout the season, you have to grab any positivity out of it and, coming in tomorrow, will take the positives out of that second half.”

McGreal says he doesn’t know whether he’ll be in charge when Sunderland visit Portman Road on Saturday.

“No, I’ve literally come from the changing room to do the press, to see you guys,” he said. “As I said before, [CEO] Mark [Ashton] and his team have been keeping me well informed at this moment in time. I’m sure they’ll keep me informed over the next day or two.”

How big a job does the new manager face when he comes in? “There’s work to be done, there’s no question of that. Not even looking over the last three or four games, you look right the way through the season. It’s the inconsistency.

“We’ve had false dawns, there have been some good performances, there have been not-so-good performances, so there are plays there and shapes and different personnel to work with.

“There are plenty of bodies to work with. But the new guy will come in and he’ll have his own ideas, he’ll have the January window just around the corner as well, which I think will make a big difference as well.

“There’s a lot to work with. There’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s still a lot to work with.

“And also you’ve got the fans behind you, which is another huge plus. I know for one that the fans will get right behind the new guy as well.”

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ArnieM added 23:31 - Dec 15
Word for word , that’s exactly what Paul Cook was saying about this group of players,
” our inconsistency or out consistency” …..

So what’s to be done then ? Boot them all out and start again ?

hatch added 23:32 - Dec 15
Sounds like he’s expecting a new manager in before Saturday.

Churchman added 23:32 - Dec 15
Poor players that didn’t want to be there. Don’t care about their mates, just after the £ and their next club. A rubbish team by any description. Depressing.

ArnieM added 23:32 - Dec 15
Oh, and new manager announced before Saturday then?

ChrisR added 23:32 - Dec 15
No , they were consistent ....consistency useless .

Suffolk_n_Good added 23:32 - Dec 15
John, we’re not inconsistent!! We’re consistently atrocious at the moment!!

BlueBlood90 added 23:33 - Dec 15
I can only imagine John isn’t laying into these players because he’s a new coach at the club and doesn’t want to burn any bridges so early on but that was nothing short of a disgrace tonight.

I don’t know why he keeps mentioning inconsistency as that would suggest we are good in spells. The reality is we have been very consistently poor for a number of weeks now! Whoever the new manager is has a BIG job on their hands!

CookAshtonJohnson added 23:35 - Dec 15
This new manager better have some consistency and give us a football team that gives us their all until the final whistle. Hopefully he was watching the game and could see our awful attempt of playing football and actually kick some sense into the players from now until the end of the season and give the loyal fans a team to come and watch play beautiful football. COYB

nick8 added 23:36 - Dec 15
Sack every single one of those useless imbeciles. None of them are fit to wear the shirt. This club is rotten to the core.

Wacko added 23:36 - Dec 15
Really really poor tactics

DifferentGravy added 23:37 - Dec 15
Yep, 7/8 of the players didnt even try. But a game where you acknowledged a difficult pitch and needing to win the start with a narrow midfield(absolutely no width) including -

Carroll: lightweight - only passed sideways and backwards, often put our own defence under pressure
Fraser: ineffective - out of position, done nothing all season
Aluko: wide flair player on a difficult surface whos not renowned for tackling, made to play narrow!?!

Soon as I saw that starting line up I knew we would lose.

htb added 23:44 - Dec 15
I’m sorry that was a disgraceful performance. I don’t think you can really take anything much from the second half. I guess we weren’t completely outclassed by the mighty Barrow and it was more even but then they had already won the match. I really am pretty well sick of everything about this club.

Woodbridgian added 23:45 - Dec 15
We’re not inconsistent we’re consistently rubbish. Huge game on Saturday now and what should be a massively positive event in front of a capacity crowd and the US ownership team, could with another gutless performance like this end in a PR disaster. What worries me the most though is that everything numerous Bristol City fans warned us about Ashton seem to be coming true!

Karlosfandangal added 23:46 - Dec 15
Poor tactics, after 15 mins you could see our midfield were over run, should have changed formation then not wait till half time.
We had players on the pitch who could match Barrows formation.

Sorry John great player but not the man for town

chopra777 added 23:47 - Dec 15
Bring on the Tractor Girls for Saturday. At least they can score goals.

62WasBest added 23:50 - Dec 15
That isn't inconsistency. It is inadequacy. How many occasions this season have Town played two good halves of football? This bunch collectively have no leaders, no desire, no pride and no interest. They don't even begin to understand the basics of the game. Being paid for the junk they produce is like grand larceny.

RobsonWark added 23:52 - Dec 15
What do you expect when you completely change the team you imbecile!!!

KiwiTractor added 01:10 - Dec 16
I'm not sure we are inconsistent - we appear to be consistently poor?

KiwiTractor added 01:13 - Dec 16
The remit wasn't to win games? Well you've succeeded then.

hyperbrit added 03:50 - Dec 16
I will not make any friends from this post,but if I were the new owners I would be saying get out of these bloody cup runs and use them to find out who to get rid of come Jan. and concentrate on the number one priority the league. If it was just the FA cup it would be ok but all the others have turned it into a laughing stock!!

madmouse1959 added 05:47 - Dec 16
For many years now we have a team that exits a cup competition early. It seems we are just not been interested in ANY cup competition. Why ? Maybe the players do not want the extra work load or is it that every cup game just happens to be an off-day. ? We had no spark, no desire, no goal scoring threat and Barrow found it easy to dominate us to exploit a weak defence. Who did you see shouting orders ? Who was the leader ? No one !!! . It was just sad to see a team with little ability to " GEL" and unable to match the opponent . A sad day for the fans and the football club. (Again).

JCBLUE added 06:15 - Dec 16
Disgraceful performance, doubtless a few Town careers ended in the new managers eyes. Still hopeful we will appoint a miracle worker, but in all likelihood season over & roll on 22/23. Sad times, particularly given new ownership and investment.

EricsGate added 06:18 - Dec 16
I’m sorry, and people can have a pop at me if they wish but the players weren’t at total fault last night.
What on Earth was that formation in the first half? 4-2-2-2???
You could see the back four plus Carroll and el miz had nobody wide to play to.
McGreals fault as well last night
What a complete shamble from top to bottom

eddiespearitt03 added 06:28 - Dec 16
Who is going to stick their head up and be the leader ? I can,t see an interim manager slamming the dressing room door at half time and having a right go at these footballers . Inconsistent ? Unfortunately there are many supporters who have seen this lack of passion far too often to accept that excuse of inconsistency. It was awful to watch.

Saxonblue74 added 06:34 - Dec 16
Getting caught out trying to play from the back? Against Barrow? So the tactic then for the second half is hoof it straight up the field and that looked a little better? Anyone still think JM is the man for the job? If going from utterly embarrassing in the first half to really poor in the second is "inconsistent" then I guess we were! As for needing a "Wigan type" performance against Sunderland? Am I the only one who thinks that wasn't very good either?

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