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McKenna: We Could Very Easily be Sitting Here Off the Back of Two Wins, We Should Be
Saturday, 26th Feb 2022 18:26

Town boss Kieran McKenna admitted it’s been a frustrating week with the Blues recording back to back draws - 0-0 at home to Cheltenham on Tuesday and 1-1 at Morecambe today - and that it was incredible that his side had scored only once over the course of the two matches.

Wes Burns’s 86th minute leveller rescued a point at the Mazuma Stadium, despite Town having dominated virtually from start to finish.

“Extremely frustrating result,” he said. “I thought it was an extremely good performance on 90 per cent of the pitch. We did so many things well but not in the last few yards close to their goal.

“A frustrating week, incredible really to have scored one goal over the two games that we’ve had, across the two performances, Tuesday-Saturday, the amount of things that we’ve done well.

“On the one hand we can be proud of the development of the team in so many areas but on the other hand, the position we’re in, I said it after Tuesday, we can’t afford draws, we want wins and to get that we need to score more goals.

“I thought in terms of our process, we created bundles of opportunities, were excellent in all out attacking play but we didn’t take enough chances.”

Asked what the problem is in front of goal, McKenna said: “I think we’ll keep looking at that. It’s something we’ll keep looking at. We don’t make any rash decisions on it, we’re constantly reflecting. I don’t think it’s ever one thing in football, it’s a complex game.

“There were probably a few games early in my tenure when I thought our penetration wasn’t good enough, the players were adapting to our style of play, but I don’t think that’s been the case lately, we’re playing to a really, really high level.

“I don’t think there are many, if any, other teams in this league or maybe even the league above who could perform better than that on that pitch, the way we performed today, especially in the first half with the quality of our play. I don’t think there are many teams around who could do better.

“But it’s probably happened too many times that we haven’t turned that into goals. It’s something we’ll keep looking at and keep working on, something we need to improve.”

McKenna admits it’s particularly frustrating as there are so many players in the squad capable of finding the net.

“They’ve proven, all the forwards, over the course of their careers that they can score goals,” he continued.

“People have spells, individually have spells, teams have spells, this is just our spell. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for us over the course of my time here, I’m as confident as I can be really that we’re going to score a lot of goals over the course of it.

“If we keep developing and improving as we are, I don’t think we’re far away from scoring four or five in a game, I really don’t.

“But I think it’s a spell that we’re going through at the moment. It’s a little bit unusual but it can happen to better teams than us and it’s our little spell this week and in a couple of games previously.

“But I’m sure we have the quality in the building to score more goals and I know as a team we’ll keep improving our collective attacking to create more opportunities.”

Having got back on terms, the Blues almost won it with Janoi Donacien seeing a late chested opportunity blocked by home keeper Trevor Carson, who made numerous stops in a man-of-the-match display.

“That probably summed it up, we had our right centre-back in the box, flushed on to a cross, I haven’t seen it back, but maybe five or six yards out and he meets it full and it hits the goalkeeper,” the Blues boss reflected.

“If it goes in, we’re saying ‘Two goals, fantastic performance, proud of the players and a great result’.

“Today, it’s hit the goalkeeper, or it’s a great save, I’ve not seen it close enough to see, maybe I’m not giving the goalkeeper enough credit, it might have been a great reaction save.

“I thought that probably summed up our intent, we kept attacking to the end, great spirit, conceded the goal, kept going, got a goal back and then kept going and kept pushing for the winner.

“In terms of so many things I can’t ask too much more, the players are equally as frustrated as the staff and I’m sure the supporters are but it’s not for a lack of will, not for a lack of effort and I’m sure that we’ll get there.”

Burns took his tally for the season to 10, an impressive total for a player who has featured either as a winger or a wing-back since joining the club in the summer.

“Good finish again, credit to him, got in the box,” McKenna added. “It was one of those situations that we have bundles of in the game, balls popping around in the six-yard box, good play to get there but eventually they’ve got so many bodies in front of goal that it’s not always going to be clean, you’re not always going to be able to convert the first touch on the cross.

“You have to just find a way to get that inch and get your shot off and he did that low and across the goalkeeper. A great finish, good for him, good for us to get the goal back.

“A draw’s disappointing but a defeat I think would have been entirely unjust, so at the end of the day it’s a draw, not as much as what we wanted but it’s something to take home.”

Macauley Bonne, who has now scored only once in his last 20 matches, missed two of Town’s best first-half chances.

Asked how the striker was feeling after the match, McKenna said: “He’s the same as everybody in the dressing room, he’s disappointed but it’s not an individual thing. We defend as a team and we attack as a team.

“Obviously it’s great when the strikers can chip in with goals but it’s a collective thing. Obviously he was on the end of a couple of good chances today, you have to be there to miss them and he’s was on the end of some good chances and that’s more than half the battle usually for someone who is a good finisher.

“He’s passionate about the club, passionate about the team and I’m sure he’ll keep chipping and working away in training and he’ll keep doing his best for the team.”

McKenna says he’s a firm believer that good performances will lead to results: “I think so, it’s not a day to think about the medium term or the longer term development of the team because it’s a day where the disappointment of not getting a win is the overriding emotion.

“I think over the course of a couple of months, the development of the team is fantastic. Bearing in mind the condition of the pitch today, some of our football was outstanding. Performances over time breed results.

“We’ve had a higher expected goals in every game apart from the Sheffield Wednesday game and one other, I forget which.

“We’ve had a higher expected goals in almost every game that we’ve played and over the course of time, if you keep having better chances than the opposition, then you’re going to score goals than them more often and you’re going to win more games than them.

“We’ll keep trying to develop performances, keep trying to develop individuals in their game and I think some of the players are really coming on, keep trying to develop the team and if we keep going in this direction then the team, the individuals and the club are moving in the right direction for a positive future.”

Town remain ninth now back to five points from the play-offs and McKenna admits another draw is a blow, if not a terminal one.

“In terms of points it is,” he said. “We could very, very, very easily be sitting here off the back of two wins, we should be, but we’re not.

“We’re a long way behind, this is probably the week where some people from the outside, other teams or whoever may look at it and think it’s too much for us to do.

“But I think within the group that’s not the mindset, I think straight away our mindset will flick to Fleetwood and trying to put in a performance like we did today, but just do that extra little bit to get the result.”

New Morecambe manager Derek Adams was pleased with the point even if it looked like the Shrimps were going to claim all three.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game to start with,” he told the Lancaster Guardian.

“Ipswich Town, with the run they are on, we were able to get that first goal with a great ball from Adam Phillips to Wildig.

“It looked like we were going to go on and win but Ipswich had some really good opportunities and Trevor Carson has made some excellent saves. Just to get a point today, we have to be happy with that.”

Adams was reappointed on Thursday, having departed for Bradford last June before being sacked earlier in the month, and said he had had little time to work with the squad.

“We did a wee bit yesterday but, at half-time, I changed things,” he added. “We played 3-5-2 the other night but I felt the players we changed at half-time [to 4-1-4-1] helped us in the second half. We were better, more resolute and looked a wee bit of a danger on the counter-attack.”

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TimmyH added 18:34 - Feb 26
Agree again with McK and the majority of what he says...Fleetwood match will be tougher than both the last 2 matches, they're a little tenacious outfit.

I doubt we'll make the play-offs now the last 2 matches have been our undoing (and Cooks time here) the summer we need a couple of reliable strikers at least and no doubt 1 will be on a loan and also the left side will need to be sorted out, Celina I doubt will not be here and so far Thompson hasn't done it for me at LB.

jas0999 added 18:36 - Feb 26
We need to sign a good striker who fits in to KM system in the summer. None of our current strikers are doing well enough.

grinch added 18:37 - Feb 26
Well said boss good assessment of the team let's go bargain and the signs for next season look excellent COYB

Suffolkboy added 18:45 - Feb 26
KM his usual measured self : dodging nothing , analysing everything and clear about the structured thoughtful approach and further development yet necessary !
It remains a fact that we are short on ability and technical ability easy on the eye when it comes to scoring .I’m sure it will be sorted ,but not sure it’s possible this season unless we see a material and sudden rebirth of belief and commitment in and around the penalty and goal areas !
Go to it KM and Co!

AlanG296 added 18:45 - Feb 26
We could also easily be sitting here on the back of two 1-0 defeats! Great improvement under him in many ways, time for him to turn his attention on the training ground to making the most of opportunities in open play and particularly with corners and free kicks.

billlm added 19:11 - Feb 26
Could and should, welcome to Ipswich town,

Europablue added 19:15 - Feb 26
It definitely feels like a mammoth task to shrug off our inconsistency. The fans are always expecting things to go wrong based on over a decade of this happening. KM is the right man to fix us. It was always very hopeful to reach the playoffs. It's now looking like too much for us especially considering the teams around us.

MickMillsTash added 19:23 - Feb 26
We introduced Jackson too late, Morecambe pushed up their defence in the second half and our control disappeared.
Hard to see if Norwood should have scored in the first and Bonnes 2 headers but we don’t score. Sit in frustrate, force Ipswich wide and there is not enough quality coming in to the box or enough men or quality in it.
Our corners- is it one hand in the air- hit the first man, 2 hands in the air - too long?

Carberry added 19:25 - Feb 26
Strikers don't 'chip in' with goals, that's midfielders.

ringwoodblue added 19:25 - Feb 26
I’ve agreed with pretty much everything McKenna has said since he came in but I don’t agree with his assessment below:

“I don’t think there are many, if any, other teams in this league or maybe even the league above who could perform better than that on that pitch, the way we performed today, especially in the first half with the quality of our play. I don’t think there are many teams around who could do better”

Yes, we are playing much better football under McKenna but there is still much to do such as converting more of our chances and taking full advantage of corners and free-kicks.


Ipswichbusiness added 20:05 - Feb 26
Unfortunately, our chances of being in the play-offs are very low.

That is mainly due to our poor start to the season, but the last two games have seen a total of four points dropped.

We just haven’t been scoring enough goals under KM. Hopefully that is something that he will put right next season.

itfcserbia added 20:07 - Feb 26
I would love to see Aluko and Celina together on the pitch. For me Bakinson offers nothing, his passing is 50/50 and Thompson too often lost down the left doesn't k ow when to push and when to pull. Two worst players are loanees.

AlanG296 added 20:13 - Feb 26
And both of those loanees came in under McKenna. Yes I know Ashton and others are involved in the recruiting process but as we have been told no moves are made without the manager's say so.

TimmyH added 20:18 - Feb 26
Sorry folks a bit off topic but have to say this...greentractorboy - anything to add? nah! didn't think so other than just give me a down vote on my posts so your obviously doing it to be a smart arse...probably because you've got a huge void between your ears! :)

Lathers added 20:41 - Feb 26
Yeah we should have got 6 points Kieron, but we didn’t. He has sorted out the back and middle, but our lack of scoring prowess is identical to the last couple of months under Cook’s reign. Clearly we are a better team under KM but I really don’t like his rotation of the front 3. I really believe that it’s his front 3 rotation that’s causing the problem. I like Aluko, Nors and Bonne, but surely away from home at a scrappy team on a blowy day we want Pigott as the out ball and Jackson on the scraps? Maybe for all the modern day analysis and squad friendly rotation, our young manager needs to learn to trust in form and give his best 3 options a run in the team?


pennblue added 20:41 - Feb 26
There is no doubt we have controlled the last 2 games very well, but we have hardly had: "bundles of opportunities". Teams are setting themselves up to be difficult to break down, and are succeeding. Lack of confidence is clearly an issue up top, but I can't help but think bringing Matt Penney back would give us a much better attacking option down that left hand side, and he has a sweet left foot. Then you got the set plays, we should be throwing ourselves at those corners like our lives depended on it. But I think ultimately, we need a proper number 9 type striker, fox in the box type, Norwood is our closest to such a player, so I would stick him up top and get some decent service into him.

ArnieM added 21:09 - Feb 26
Far too much striker rotation going on . Keep a settled striker partnership for gods sake ! There’s no continuity up front ….

blueboy1981 added 21:23 - Feb 26
Could have, Should have, Would have - but we didn’t - because we cannot Score Goals, and Goals Win Games … !!!

blueboy1981 added 21:31 - Feb 26
Don’t keep ‘harping on’ about the now fictitious Play Offs - they went with the four points dropped in the last two matches, that we should have WON !!

DavefromWatford added 23:51 - Feb 26
I agree with you about the play offs. we would need a miracle to reach them now. Bonne should be ashamed to miss the chances he had. I`m afraid Thompson is out of his depth & i would rather see Penney playing LB. Could KM please make up his mind who should play up front cause i am cant keep up with all the changes every match.

peaky69 added 00:12 - Feb 27
Stop living in the past you lot. Squad rotation of front players is a fact of the modern game as those front players are expected to work overtime pressing as much as scoring goals.
I would say it is time now Simpson was given a chance. Nothing to lose.

Essexnblue added 07:52 - Feb 27
Why would you want to give Simpson a chance?
Its obvious he was tapped up whilst at Swindon and was recalled to test his loyalty so he could sign a contract.
Has he signed the contract?
No, so it would suggest he is off in May, anyway if you watch the U23s you will see the same as KMc does each day, he simply isnt that good.

ChrisFelix added 07:54 - Feb 27
Why keep changing the strikers & why persevere with Bonne.
I left PR last Saturday thinking that at last we have found an up front pairing. How wrong could I be.

KiwiBlue2 added 07:55 - Feb 27
A disappointing few days with 4 of what could turn out to be vital points dropped.
Bonne's lengthy dry spell, and the nature of many of his misses during it, gives the reason for his rating at QPR. While scored some good goals during his early hot streak, including the memorable one where he milked the goalkeeper, some of his recent misses have sadly been close to comical. I fervently hope that he can get back to scoring again. Maybe someone like a Marcus Stewart type player could be brought in to work 1 on 1 with him in training . Norwood, I feel just needs some consistent game time. Perhaps as we move into spring the grounds will improve and we will see some scoring reminiscent of the early part of the season......coyb

BangaloreBlues added 08:32 - Feb 27
I assume he's still trying to find his best XI but I feel he's been tinkering with the team a bit excessively lately. Too many changes up front, we need a more settled team.

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