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McKenna: We Got Off to Another Fast Start, Which is Important
Tuesday, 8th Mar 2022 23:20

Blues manager Kieran McKenna was delighted that his side made a fast start as they defeated Lincoln City 2-0 at Portman Road.

Town got on top of the Imps from the off with Wes Burns netting the opener in the 22nd minute and Kayden Jackson the second 10 minutes later. From there, there was no way back for the visitors.

“I thought the first half was very good in a lot of ways,” McKenna said. “Got off to another fast start, which is important for us, we’re doing that better and better. Got the early goals, we got our reward in the first half with the two goals.

“Second half, I wasn’t disappointed, to be honest. Lincoln are a team who keep coming after you so you’re not always going to have loads of controlled possession, you’re either going to cut through them and score or the game’s going to be a little bit end to end.

“I thought in the second half we stuck at it, we defended well, didn’t give up too many opportunities. I thought the work-rate, considering we’re coming off a long trip from Fleetwood and a heavy pitch on Saturday, was fantastic and I thought we managed the game well.”

Regarding the quick start, he added: “It’s important for us. I think we’ve got better at it over the time that I’ve been here. We get a fantastic backing here, we get a fantastic crowd and we want to give them excitement and get the energy and the excitement in the stadium up at the start of the game.

“But the other team dictates that as well. There have been games where the other team haven’t come out and left us any space and that makes it a different type of game, it makes it where you have to be more patient and more controlled with your football.

“But Lincoln, fair play to them, they came and had a go from the first minute to the last, they came and tried to attack us and press us high, so it made it difficult, but it also gave us the opportunity to play through the pitch and get combinations going and attack the spaces that they leave.

“We managed to do that at the start of the game and I thought we had that threat all night.”

Town have now won nine of McKenna’s 14 games in charge and have picked up 10 clean sheets, seven in the last eight matches.

“Pleased with the performances,” the former Manchester United assistant continued. “You can’t guarantee the result in any given game. We’ve had some games where we’ve played very, very well and not won and other games where we’ve played not so well and won.

“Pleased with the performances, pleased with the attitude of the group, pleased with how we’re developing our style of play as a team, pleased with the improvement and the development of some individuals, which I think is there for all to see.

“I think we’re going in a good direction, we’ve just got to keep working as we are, keep improving and hope that the results will keep coming.”

This evening’s win saw the Blues move to within three points of the top six but McKenna insists he’s not taken too much notice of the table.

“Yes, I’ve not looked much, to be honest,” he continued. “There are a lot of good teams around us, above us, teams who have got games in hand on us.

“I’m not going to worry about that, I just want us to keep trying to improve, keep trying to develop, recover well from each game.

“It’s a nice busy stage of the season, I want us to keep focusing on ourselves, keep trying to put in performances and pick up wins and we can’t control what other teams do, we just try and control everything that we do.”

Asked about the challenges to come, starting with Portsmouth’s visit on Saturday, the Northern Irishman added: “Some really good games. I think the pleasing thing is that the boys have managed to keep their season alive. We spoke about that before this game, we said that we could easily be in a situation where the season was dead and drifting away, if they hadn’t regrouped and come together as a team, which they have done.

“They’ve dug in and they’ve set up some exciting games at the back end of the season. Games like tonight where you come to Portman Road, you’ve got 25,000, there’s something on the game and the boys are fighting for their goal.

“Credit to them for how they’ve dug in in a difficult season and kept it competitive and it’s set up good games like tonight and set up another good game on Saturday against Portsmouth, so we’re all looking forward to that one.”

He added: “We’re scoring some good goals and creating some good opportunities. We’ve worked really hard over the last couple of months on our movements and our combinations, having different threats.

“We want to be able to get behind the opposition, we want to be able to go centrally through the lines and threaten and we want to be able to get round the sides, and I feel that we have that all-round threat at the moment.

“I think we showed that in the game tonight, we created a lot of good opportunities and we’re pleased to take two, probably could have been a bit more ruthless in our execution to get some more goals, but I think there are some combinations and relationships which are clicking pretty well at the top end of the pitch.”

Regarding man of the match Sone Aluko, who was given a standing ovation when he was subbed in the second half, McKenna said: “I thought he was fantastic, he really was. I thought he was how he is at the training ground, to be honest. He’s been fantastic since I arrived, but especially over the last few weeks, he seems to be going through the gears a little bit.

“He’s leading by example in the training sessions with his intensity, with his concentration on all the little details and that thankfully came out on the pitch tonight.

“I’m delighted with how he’s leading the group in his own way. Obviously he’s not a shouter or a raver but he’s a really good leader in how he sets an example and how he applies himself to things.

“He’s an important senior member of the group at the moment, he’s working really well behind the scenes, but I thought his performance tonight was fantastic. Good for him to get that ovation and it was thoroughly deserved.”

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iaintaylorx added 23:45 - Mar 8
Great performance all round. McKenna is getting me so excited for next season already, despite if we don’t make the playoffs. What a turnaround it has been! Praying Morsy and Edmondson aren’t OK too because they are two big losses.

Thought that was Bakinson’s best game in a Town shirt, and also Thompson’s too. 3 points off playoffs and still plenty of points to play for!!

EssexTractor added 23:46 - Mar 8
Excellent coaching and match preparation by Kieran
The vast improvement of Wolfenden particularly impressive.
Looks assured and always calm in possession and soon one of those burst forwards will really pay off .
Donacien once only an occasional appearance , probably over course of whole season edging being Player of the Year
Aluko a delight on the eyes
And so on …
Fabulous run recently but only niggle, we have trouble in being dangerous from corners..


brendenward35 added 07:49 - Mar 9
What a difference this season, last season fell a sleep watching most games 1st half had to wait till half time to make a cuppa as I didn't want to miss anything. Under PC we would have checked that lead away. Liked McKenna from the start level headed and players want to play for him massive difference.

Bluefish11 added 10:07 - Mar 9
It certainly makes a nice change to go home from games excited and looking forward to the next one, instead of the depressing impact of following the team under the previous ownership. Average home attendance is highest for over 10 years under KMck, and probably much longer. Keep it everyone, great job.
2017-18 16,000
2018-19 17,800
2019-20 17,900
2020-21 Covid
KMck 23,300

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