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Burns: Season Probably at Its End Now
Sunday, 3rd Apr 2022 09:46 by Blair Ferguson

Following Town's 1-0 defeat to Cambridge United on Saturday, wing-back Wes Burns admitted that the Blues’ hopes of making the play-offs are all but over.

A stuttering display against the U’s was disappointing for Town, who went into the match needing to win most if not all of their games to make the top six.

Dominic Thompson's 56th-minute own goal was the difference between the sides, while Cameron Burgess had a late equaliser ruled out.

They're now six points off the play-offs with only five games left to play and with the four sides above them all having a game in hand.

Whilst Burns still thinks it's a positive time to be an Ipswich fan, the Welshman conceded that finishing sixth is now almost impossible.

“We spoke about it in the dressing room and we said the season is probably at its end now,” Burns began. “We've got five games to go and it's going to be tough to grab that sixth spot now with the dropped points today.

“It's just frustration all round, really. I think it was clear from the start of the game they came here today to literally waste time, put 11 men behind the ball and try and ruffle our feathers a little bit, and they succeeded with that. Their game plan worked perfectly. It was just a frustrating time, really.

“But we'll look forward to the next five games. You have to finish the season well, finish the season on a high and build that momentum into next year.

“I think we're already doing so and in terms of the feel-good factor around the club, everyone can see how the team has been building and how the team will be for next year.

“So it's a positive time to be an Ipswich Town fan and be a part of Ipswich Town. Next year we'll come back stronger again and hopefully when it's five games to go next year, we'll already have lifted the trophy.”

However, the 27-year-old knows that despite the chances of the Blues making the cut being slim, they still have to go into each of the remaining five games looking for a victory.

“Just because we're saying the season's finished doesn't mean it actually is, you know what I mean? We have five games to go - why not go and win all five? We've got nothing to lose now, so we'll give it our all in all five.

"Teams could capitulate massively and implode on themselves, and we do nick sixth if we win all five, so obviously we'll be praying for that.”

Town's performance was uncharacteristic of their recent form, a frustrating and sloppy showing.

It made for frustrating watching from the stands, but Burns explains it was equally frustrating on the pitch.

“I think the first half wasn't our best today. We were quite sloppy in possession, certainly for the first 15 to 20 minutes and then after we kind of got to grips with that.

“The first half kind of passed us by. I know we had some spells of possession where we kind of looked threatening, and we did create a chance for Samy [Morsy].

“But, the first half we weren't our greatest. Second half, I thought we were a little bit better, but still not quite our best. It is quite tough when teams come [and sit] and it's happening quite often, which is obviously a positive for us in terms of teams are giving us the respect that we deserve in terms of we played good football, and we do try to break teams down.

“But today wasn't the day. We weren't bang on it and we didn't create that clear-cut chance to score a goal.

“Sometimes it's like that. We were sitting in the dressing room after the game, saying you can't be 100 per cent bang out to every game. It's tough. It's almost impossible. It's like being perfect every single time. It's not possible.

“And today was just one of those games. On another day, the passes that we do try, the shots that we do have, they go in and the passes come off, and we might have scored two or three, but it just wasn't to be today.

“The longer the game goes on, the more they grow into the game, the more confidence they gain from that.

“I think we've all been part of teams where when you're hanging on at the last gasp and stuff, it's tough to break that down and you know we just weren't quite good enough today, I put it down to that.

“It is, is very frustrating. I keep using the word frustration and that's what it is. I'm gutted to keep saying it and I'm gutted that we didn't win today, gutted for the fans going home, and they have to wait until next year to celebrate and things like that. So, yeah, just all around frustrated, gutted and sad.”

Recent success under Kieran McKenna has seen teams approach Town differently with Cambridge, not the first to come and sit back in numbers.

Burns has often presented Town’s biggest threat down the right but the former Fleetwood man was kept in check by the U’s.

“I know it's sort of quite frustrating when teams do that and they bring multiple players over to try and deal with the right-hand side,” he said. “It's not just me as an individual.

“A lot of it comes down to the rotations with me, JD, Chappers and Sone [Aluko] when he plays in there. It's not just me as an individual.

“Our right side in general is very dangerous and we do create a lot down our right side. So when a team does nullify that a little bit, it is frustrating for us.

“It's fine details at the end of the day. We conceded a late goal at Oxford down to a set play. We conceded a goal today, set play. It’s not something we're used to, since the boss has come in. We've been pretty solid in terms of clean sheets and dealing with set plays and things like that.

“But it's the minor details when we’re not bang on it like today. We need to make sure that we are 100 per cent focused in and concentrating on set plays.

“It would be nice if we could score one down the other end and not be offside. It’s happened twice to us now, the Portsmouth one and the one today. It will eventually drop for us, but it didn't today.”

Despite Saturday’s disappointment, Burns says the form since McKenna took charge would have been good enough for a top-two place if repeated over an entire campaign.

“I think since the boss has come in our form has probably been top if not the top three or second,” he continued.

“If we had that from the start of the season, we'd be looking at automatic promotion. Our season wasn't won or lost on today's game and it's been a collective thing over the season.

“I think we've lost ten or 11 games this season and if you want to be a team that gets promoted, you can't lose that many games. As I said, next year we'll build and hopefully, 11 losses isn't us next year.”

Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images

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pointofblue added 09:56 - Apr 3
Our form has improved under McKenna but it would only see us sixth - not top three.

Guthrum added 10:09 - Apr 3
Not quite. If we'd kept up McKenna's form for all 41 games so far, we'd be sitting in 3rd (or 4th, on GD).

I don't like talk of the season being "over". We need to keep pushing until the end of the last game, trying to win every match, not simply jogging towards the finish line.

Fair enough to take a look at some of the younger or alternative personnel (e.g. Simpson), but the team isn't on holiday yet.

johnwarksshorts added 10:36 - Apr 3
Realistically we need to be planning for next season in league 1, having said that we obviously need to fight until the final whistle of the final game of the season in May. We have a fantastic opportunity with New owners, Kmk, and all his staff and our fantastic supporters. Get the recruitment right and we'll be competing for top spot. COYB!! ITID!

Saxonblue74 added 10:43 - Apr 3
Guthrum, the firm tables say otherwise I'm afraid. Last 15 games has us 6th, last 10 games 7th and last 5 games has us 11th.

Saxonblue74 added 10:43 - Apr 3

Saxonblue74 added 10:45 - Apr 3
We may see a real run of form to the end of the season,as realistically the season is over and the pressure is off. We've looked like a team playing "must win" games recently.

Suffolkboy added 10:48 - Apr 3
Gosh ! – did we look mentally slack ,physically lacking and short on self belief ? It was hard to believe this was the same group who last week set about swamping the opposition ; ITFC looked bereft of energy and with not one person standing out or driving others on to change the lack lustre performance .
These days happen BUT strong characters with a ‘never say die ‘ approach can and do spur surprising results .
It does look still as if we've too many who merely fit into ,and try to understand , a system rather than have the individual capacity to bring about change or the unexpected in a game ( & the highlights evidence the still lacking Cohesion and understanding bugging our attacking play )
It will come ; patience and determination will ensure improvement !

FrimleyBlue added 10:54 - Apr 3
Hull won the league losing 11 games actually.

What helps is more than 5 players in the box for corners and actually having shots at goal on occasions.

Bert added 11:17 - Apr 3
Although Burns is my player of the season I don't agree with his assessment of Cambridge. They moved forward quite well in the first half causing our defence problems. Yes they sat back in the second half after the own goal but did they come to Portman Road to sit back and waste time ? I don't think so. We were poor and invited them to be at their best and out wit us. To win this league we have to find ways of getting behind defences rather than always accuse smaller teams of putting everyone behind the ball. That's my view but it does not detract from what has been a great three months under our new, modern thinking manager.

Ebantiass added 11:25 - Apr 3
The fat lady is limbering up unfortunately and we must see that its another season in the third best league. Every team in the country wants strikers buts its obvious its the area we need to find and a couple creative midfielders. KmK has done an outstanding job so far.

TimmyH added 11:39 - Apr 3
Personally felt it was at its end a couple of weeks back after the failure to hold onto the win against Oxford...although we have improved consistency wise with our results under McK it still hasn't been enough and we've never looked like winning 3 in a row and a number of teams above us have achieved that.

buzbyblue added 12:23 - Apr 3
The problem has been since Bonne stopped scoring we have been p!ss poor up front - goals win games

IMHO (mark me down if you like) I wouldn't be sad to see all of Bonne, Norwood, Jackson, Chaplin, Piggott & Bersant all moved on as none have been able to claim the shirt this season?

This though maybe the fault of KMK and his insistence of changing the front 1/2 every match

VanDusen added 12:24 - Apr 3
Particularly unlucky that this is likely to be a record season for points required to get in the play-offs for a 24 team league. In any normal season 64 points with five to go would have us still well in it (look at Championship and League Two if you disagree) with 75 almost always a guaranteed spot.

Same luck that saw us have to play Peterborough, Coventry and Fleetwood at home two years ago in those last few weeks before the season was curtailed - whereas if those had instead been the outstanding (never played) home matches with terminally awful Bolton, Southend and Rochdale we'd probably have been given auto promotion...

Len_Brennan added 12:40 - Apr 3
The disappointing reality is that the first half of the season under Cook isn't totally responsible for us not making the playoffs (playoffs not automatic promotion) in a weak enough league; despite a good unbeaten run & a very mean defence, we have frequently been toothless during the McKenna era, often against sides struggling in the bottom half.
For all the justifiable plaudits KMcK gets for bringing the best out in underperforming players like JD & Wolfie, he will have to have a good look at his system, options & personnel ahead of next season, because something is not right when it comes to goalscoring. The easy answer is that we need new strikers, so we will see 2 Championship level forwards come in no doubt, but is it as simple as that? I'm not so sure.
Pretty much every other League 1 club would snap our hands off for 1
(or 2) of Norwood, Bonne, Pigott & Jackson; most would also like to take a chance on Simpson; while Aluko & Chaplin are actually Championship level forwards too in reality. No other side in this league comes close to us in terms of firepower & depth of it. Of course a Harry Kane or Jamie Vardy would have fired in some of those chances we've missed, while Bonne is a shadow of the player we saw early on, but I wonder is it simply a case bringing in new personnel to sort it out, or will KMcK have to change how we play somewhat, in order to make us more potent next season.

grinch added 12:54 - Apr 3
#guthrum disagree if players ie Simpson is not willing to buy into the current town ethos then he doesn't deserve to play in the first team others do I agree who are part of the Future but no to Simpson until he respects ITFC correctly

ringwoodblue added 14:42 - Apr 3
Rotherham, Wigan and MKD deserve to go up this season so I hope that is what happens although I think Sheff Wed are going to upset someone's party at the end.

McKenna has worked wonders but we are still too nice and one-dimensional. We need to be more physical, able to mix it up a bit with better corners and set plays, long throw-ins and central defenders prepared to attack balls in the box like the good old days.

billys_boots added 14:44 - Apr 3
It's probably a positive thing that they're are lots of areas town can, and need to, improve. Obviously the left side isn't functioning as well as the right and set pieces need to produce more goals. However the biggest area to improve is wing able to quickly get the ball from midfield to strikers. We take far to much time (have slow feet and telegraph passes/run into dead ends) and nearly always fail to spot the runs made by the strikers. Therefore it's very difficult, for fans anyway, to really assess how good the forwards are. Obviously KMcK is aware of this and more.

Saxonblue74 added 17:59 - Apr 3
I do feel there's a lot of "heat" on our strikers right now which may be a little unjustified. None of them are missing gilt edged chances week in, week out. They are not being given then opportunity to miss. Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy were name checked in an earlier post, neither of them would be doing any better from the service they would (or wouldnt) be getting.

Karlosfandangal added 07:57 - Apr 4
It's also McKenna's first matches as a manager so he will get it wrong at times,However for the first time we have a manager who looks like they can get the team up.

He will be given backing to bring in the players we need to get Town in the Championship

Linkboy13 added 10:32 - Apr 4
Yes we've consistently proved that we are not capable of putting away the poor sides in this league. Hope im wrong but one or two players in our squad might not want to spend another season in division one.

BobbyBell added 10:35 - Apr 4
When you try to play football some teams will take you on and some will just stifle you with numbers behind the ball and a strong physical presence. It has worked for decades so as boring as it is teams will still do it and they will still on occasions succeed. We must accept that Cambridge had a plan and it worked. We must develop a plan to deal with it. I have been concerned and still am that we don't have enough variety in our attacks. Yes we score brilliant goals but we seem to want to score the same way every game. We seem reluctant to cross the ball high as we have no one who can win that first header or
even cause the defenders to miss their headers. We need some set piece goals, some scrambled goals and some poached goals. We don't seem to get penalties or deflected shots going in the net and we get very few free kicks around the box. Something seems to be missing although our football is great to watch.

JewellintheTown added 11:23 - Apr 4
Need to remember we're still technically a work in progress rather than a settled team considering the dramatic overhaul last summer and since. Yes, we still should have done better with the squad we've got, even with the poor start out of the blocks, and caught up late in the season, like we've mostly done, but we're clearly just not quite there yet.
KM will hopefully get the players he needs so its more his team next season and then the real improvements will show. Then again, we said that this season.
Positive vibes, players, manager, supporters, club personnel, financial support structure, facilities - all are on the up so we all have to have a very positive outlook for next season. Very different to what we had same time last year!
Time to give some of the promising fringe players and kids a run out for the rest of the season I think.

Barty added 11:54 - Apr 4
Plenty of optimism for next season but anyone still thinking we will make play-offs are living in cloud cuckoo land

barrystedmunds added 12:20 - Apr 4
"Its not over 'til the fat lady sings" someone famously said, and while our chances appear to fade with each passing game, stranger things have happened! So until it is mathematically impossible to make them. I'll be at Shrewsbury expecting them to still be fighting for that play off place. Ever the optimist!!!!

Ipswichbusiness added 12:29 - Apr 4
Remember that the manager is new. He hasn't had a pre-season with the players nor a summer transfer window to make his mark on the squad (mainly assembled by Cook, Lambert and Hurst). He has done his best with what he had, but the lack of goals is worrying; no good having lots of pretty approach play if you don't create chances and score.

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