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McKenna: Delighted For Kayden
Saturday, 19th Feb 2022 18:52

Boss Kieran McKenna was delighted for striker Kayden Jackson following his man of the match performance as the Blues beat Burton 3-0 at Portman Road.

Jackson, whose Town career looking to be drifting to an end until McKenna took charge and surprisingly gave him starts in the games away at AFC Wimbledon and at MK Dons, netted the Blues’ opener after 42 seconds and created the second and third goals in the second half for Wes Burns and Bersant Celina.

“Good game, Burton came and made it a really competitive game, they came and threw everything at it, which we thought they would do,” McKenna said, reflecting on the match.

“Watching them on Tuesday night [when they beat Bolton 3-1 at home] and probably in the position they’re in, they weren’t going to come here for a 0-0, they were going to come and try and go against us, so it made for an entertaining game.

“Obviously we got off to a great start, delighted with the goal, delighted with our intensity to transition so quickly and delighted for Kayden, and then the first half was a competitive affair.

“They came and pressed us high, tried to regain the ball high and mostly just tried to win set plays and play off of throw-ins and corners and they had a lot of balls in and around our box that we had to stand up to.

“I thought every time in the first half we managed to get a foot on the ball and play through the lines we had a threat, we had good penetration, good movement and we could have had the second goal a little bit earlier, but we didn’t manage to get it.

“Our chat at half-time was just that we needed to keep doing the right things, ride out their intensity when they had the spells.

“I didn’t think Burton were going to maintain that for 90 minutes in terms of the intensity of how they pressed us and spaces would appear and we would get more opportunities to expose them and then we just needed to be ruthless and kill it off when we had those chances.

“The second goal was a prime example of that. We got Sone [Aluko] in between the lines and he’s read the situation brilliantly on his [33rd] birthday. He’d seen the defender try and jump, they were gambling all the time, and he picked the pass out in behind with a great bit of quality and Jacko ran through and he set up the second goal. From there, we could have scored a few more.

“Again, credit to Burton, they kept trying to score even at 2-0 down, they kept trying to chase out to us and get out to the ball and press us, but we were thankfully able to use the spaces that they were leaving and create a lot of chances and get a third goal, and could have had more.”

McKenna was also happy that his side kept a clean sheet for the fourth time in five games and the seventh occasion since he took charge.

“That’s obviously a pleasing stat,” he continued. “It gives us a good chance, we have goals in the team and if we can keep clean sheets we’ve got a good chance to win games.

“As I keep saying, our clean sheets aren’t just about our defenders and they’re not just about our defending.

“Defensively, I thought we were good, I thought Joe Pigott led the line really well, worked his socks off, had the press against the middle centre-back but had to recover onto their deepest midfielder, so he gave us a great platform to defend well in the game.

“We stood up to them on the set plays and the backline and Christian [Walton] were good again.

“A big part of that is how we keep the ball, how we manage to control the game in the second half, keep them away from our goal, keep the game under control and work and use the ball well and it gives other teams fewer chances to score.”

Regarding Jackson, McKenna said: “Delighted for him, delighted for him as a lad first of all. As I’ve said before, his personality, how he’s been since the first day, has really pleased me coming into a situation where I knew he hadn’t been having a very good time at the club.

“But I’m just delighted that he’s been able to show what he shows in training every day. He’s really impressed me in training with his pace and his movement, and his work-rate off the ball is of a really high level.

“We’ve seen it in training now for eight weeks. He’s had a couple of opportunities in a couple of games, I thought he had a good performance last week against MK, but I thought he was able to bring that to another level today.


“He scored the goal early and that gives players confidence, of course. It gave Kayden just that little bit more confidence to throw his shoulders back and enjoy the game a little bit more, play with less pressure on himself and just show the qualities that he shows on a daily basis.

“Pleased for him, for how he’s been through a difficult period for him and hopefully he can have more good days like this.”

As well as his finish for the first goal, Jackson showed composure to find Burns and Celina for their goals while Sam Morsy might well have scored Town’s fourth from another pass from the striker.

“He’s a good crosser off of both feet, that’s something that we’ve seen in training,” McKenna continued.

“And he’s very good with his movement patterns. With Kayden, if you give him an instruction, he did it last week, he did it at AFC Wimbledon, if you give him a movement and a certain run and a a certain type of something to look for, he goes and does it. He does his absolute best to execute the plan, so he’s really coachable in that way.

“Again, the same at MK last week, he had a role, he fulfilled it to near perfection in terms of his movement and his work off the ball, apart from maybe getting a goal.

“And again today, he’s playing a different role, he’s playing as more of a left-sided striker but also working in the left wing areas at times and if you give him some things to work on on training, Kayden, he’s really diligent and really coachable. He works on it and he’s been working on those type of movements and those type of crosses.

“It’s just another string to his bow that he does cross the ball well off of both feet, in my opinion.”

Difficult to leave him out now? “Yes, but I think as we have been doing, it’s about looking at the opposition, what’s going to be the right set-up for us attacking-wise and what’s going to be the right set-up for us defensively and who are the best players to fill those roles.

“Like I’ve said, we’ve got different qualities in those positions. Kayden is the best at certain attributes but Joe Pigott again put in a good performance, I thought led the line well, his hold-up play with his back to goal was really good.

“And we’ve got Macauley [Bonne] and James [Norwood], who are two very experienced and high quality strikers at this level.

“So we have really good options there and it’s great to have those options and be able to pick and choose who we think is right for any game and to have that level of competition where the ones who are playing know that they are going to have to work very hard and put in a good performance to keep earning more minutes.”

Jackson is out of contract in the summer but that sort of performance could earn the former Accrington man a longer stay at Portman Road.

“I’ve spoken to him a few times and told him I see him as an important part of the rest of the season and a very good profile and type of person and type of player that I want to be part of this project long term,” the Blues boss said.

“He’s obviously had a statement performance today but he’s not confirmed anything to me, I’ve not learned anything new about him. I’ve seen that in training every day, I’m just pleased for him that he’s been able to show it to a wider audience.”

McKenna felt the Blues were again assisted by the 20,000 crowd, while he had 15 members of his family over from Northern Ireland celebrating his mother’s 60th birthday.

“Fantastic support, obviously getting the early goal gives everyone that little bit of confidence and enjoyment in the game but I think the crowd were brilliant again, they responded to the players and the intensity and the effort the players were putting in in the game,” he said.

“I thought in the difficult moments in the first half when we were having to ride out some set plays and some corners, I thought the crowd were fantastic in that stand behind Christian, really supported the boys when they were having to dig in. I was glad we were able to give them an enjoyable second half.

“It was the first time I’ve had all my family here as well. I had a lot of family over from Ireland having travelled from different places, so I think they enjoyed it as well.

“It was nice to have a good crowd and nice to have a family here to see it and it was an enjoyable day for everybody involved with Ipswich.

“But the message to the players in the dressing room was that it’s only three points, it’s no more than that. We got three points here against Gillingham and we didn’t play very well, we don’t get any bonus points today because everything went well.

“It’s only three, there’s another three to play for on Tuesday night against Cheltenham. It’s a massive game and we have to rest now and get ready for that one.”

Regarding midfielder Lee Evans coming off at the end with a knee problem, McKenna said: “He just went into a block tackle at the end. I’ve not had a report on him. He showed today how important he is for us, another really solid performance, hasn’t trained too much over the last little spell with injury and illness.

“But he’s just someone who is massively important to the team and gives us that balance and security behind the ball in a very particular way. We’ll see how he is from the medical report, but fingers crossed it’s nothing too serious.”

Town now move on to Tuesday’s home game against Cheltenham, who drew 5-5 at Wycombe Wanderers today.

Asked whether he’d seen that scoreline, McKenna said: “Yes, five-all! That’s some video to go through tomorrow. That’s going to be a fun Sunday.

“I think it’s our first Saturday-Tuesday at home so we’re looking at the best routine in terms of recovery and preparation.

“Cheltenham’s coming round very quickly, there’s no bonus for the day having gone so well, it’s just three points, the same three points are available on Tuesday, so however the game goes we want to make sure we’re on the right end of that result. It’s now preparation physically and mentally for Tuesday night.”

The victory over Burton was the seventh of McKenna’s 10-game management career with Town and the Blues, who are now only four points away from the play-offs, have some momentum as the season goes into its final straight.

“In the second half I thought it was a really enjoyable game, a really enjoyable performance. There was a really good feel around the stadium,” he reflected.

“Like I said, Burton, to their credit, kept coming at us and kept trying to attack and kept trying to score and they came for a win. It gave us the space that we [could exploit].

“It made it difficult but it gave us the opportunities that if we were able to connect our football, there were spaces to attack and that hasn’t always been the case here so we were able to use those spaces and have an enjoyable second half and get the momentum quickly.

‘But things can change quickly in football. We worked very, very hard to get that positive momentum in the second half but we need to do the same on Tuesday because momentum, with the position that we’re in, can be lost very, very quickly with a negative performance.

“We finished the game in a good place but it’s about picking up where we left off today on Tuesday night.”

Burton manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was less than impressed with his team’s display.

“It was pathetic really,” he said. “We spoke about it at length, what their triggers are and right from the start we opened their trigger. That is very naive, very silly and it makes it very difficult.

“After the goal we were in the game, we had one cleared off the line and Conor Shaughnessy should score, but overall we played like schoolboys today and when you come to these places, especially this place, you have to man up and play the game properly.

“Even if we don't get the goal back, we must stay in the game, keep it at 1-0, as in the last 10 minutes it can open up.

“They are a good side, it's a big club and we are Burton but we are still disappointed. We can come here and lose but I don't like the manner of how we have lost. That should have been a lot better.

“We didn't create in the second half and we were forced to change system and personnel. We played too many back passes and that's what they want so they can squeeze you.

“It's frustrating after Tuesday and that's something for me to think about. We spoke about why Tuesday was so good and we didn't do those things today. When you come here you have to earn the right to play and we didn't do that.”


Photo: TWTD



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jas0999 added 19:06 - Feb 19
I thought Jackson was excellent. Bonne started the season great and scored goals, but sadly hasn’t looked like scoring many. KM has clearly seen something in Jackson. Seems like a good call.

Tactics again today - very good. This guy also speaks sensibly and intelligently after a game - win, lose or draw!
24

cat added 19:11 - Feb 19
Today was the Kayden Jackson show and having backed him all the way I’m made up for him. All the players contributed today and some of the football we played in the last 20 odd minutes was up there with some of the best I’ve seen. Great to see McK acknowledge the fans in what could have been an ‘awkward’ moment, but one things for sure he defo knows his stuff!
14

Bazza8564 added 19:17 - Feb 19
absolutely delighted for Jackson, an ingredient we have been missing up top with real pace and i was thrilled he got the ovation he did. Burns’ crossing wasn’t up to its normal standard, it could have been six
Ten games in 22 points and 6/10 away.please don’t tell me this is over
8

Michael101 added 19:30 - Feb 19
Well what's turn around,4 months ago he wasn't wanted exiled to the u 23s .new managers comes in puts turnaround him restores his conference .long may it continue.
8

arc added 19:34 - Feb 19
I was astonished when we picked up Jackson's option last summer—I thought it was good money after bad. I thought he might never play another match for us. I am delighted to be wrong. Well played, lad—now push on and do it consistently.
12

KernewekBlue added 19:53 - Feb 19
As one who has previously stated (on more than one occasion) that Kayden Jackson should not be retained as a player with this club and should be moved on as quickly as possible to pastures new, I am happy to see him now starting to repay the faith the club has shown in him.

I will be delighted if he proves me wrong week after week, game after game and becomes an integral part of the rebirth of Ipswich Town as a force to be reckoned with in the game.

I still think he needs to give us more and earn his stripes by increasing his scoring stats significantly but if he can affect the game positively when he's wearing our shirt, I'll trust McKenna's judgement and wish KJ all the best.

I'm not afraid to chew on some humble pie if he improves our results... heck, I'll clear the whole bowl if he can help us win promotion back to The Championship and beyond.

Great result again today lads, long may it continue with another 3 points on Tuesday night!

COYB
7

ringwoodblue added 20:20 - Feb 19
I’m amazed how quickly Kieran and Martyn have turned things around and how they’ve improved some of our previously underperforming players.

If they can keep us firing for the rest of the season, we will surely be in contention in May.

It’s a very exciting time to be a Town fan.
12

ChrisFelix added 20:44 - Feb 19
Really pleased for Jackson & Pigott & believe they are our starting pair up front. They play well as a pair & few defenders can compete with Jackson for pace.Pigott lead the line with some fine hold up /layoffs.
10

ipswichboi added 21:05 - Feb 19
It's so good to hear such a sound and accurate summary from our new manager. It's been said before but he really is a breath of fresh air. Jackson has clearly been rejuvenated under him, as have others. Our defence now look a mean unit, all helping each other out, and today our attack was genuinely great at times. Onwards and upwards. COYB
8

Cakeman added 21:08 - Feb 19
Yes I’m another one who has had to consume a large slice of humble pie.
To be honest I didn’t think Kayden had a chance of staying with us this season but today he had a marvellous game and fully deserved his standing ovation.
Just keep up that standard and we will have a very good player. Well done Kayden.
8

masetheace added 23:12 - Feb 19
I'm another who is one of Jackson critics . Now comes the difficult bit - repeating this sort of performance on a regular basis
1

KiwiTractor added 05:07 - Feb 20
Seventh clean sheet since K-McK took charge....?
1

itfcserbia added 07:08 - Feb 20
So McKenna can both work with players and coach them AND adjust tactically during the game. Very very pleased with our new manager so far. Under Cook we would always be worse in 2nd half compared to 1st with McKenna it's the opposite, we adjust, we improve and we look better after half time.
3

19781981twtd added 08:06 - Feb 20
Like many others I have not been Kayden Jackson fan and have been critical, however after seeing his performance today I can see what some quality coaching can do well done KJ keep it going it's like having a new player.
3

inghamspur added 09:37 - Feb 20
I also have to hold my hands up and say well played Kayden Jackson, as I've not been one of his greatest fans.

His pace absolutely killed Burton yesterday and he showed that he can find the right pass or cross when needed.

Praise for McKenna as well as he's obviously seen something in Jackson and worked on it. Signs are looking very good with this manager.

Come on you Town!!
3

KiwiTractor added 10:33 - Feb 20
Oh yeah, save a bit of that pie for me too.

Well played KJ.
1

Fat_Boy_Tim added 10:49 - Feb 20
Funny comments from Jimmy Floyd, he doesn’t pull any punches, does he?!

I think one of the comments of twitter before the game aimed at KJ were disgraceful. He’s still a young bloke working his arse off for this team and has been the model pro since the day he arrived.

I’m so pleased he can put all that to one side and put in a performance like that.
2

Ebantiass added 20:39 - Feb 20
Im not even going to deny i wanted Jackson out,but as said we dont see him in training or talk to him almost daily as the boss does.
Absolutely delighted for him. I have been even more critical of Piggott and he too had a good game i have to admit. Long may it continue.
0

Daniel72 added 22:26 - Feb 20
Yes, Jimmy Floyd speaks well... McKenna spoke well of Burton.. nice to hear two decent teams played football with the right result.
0


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