Chaplin: Focus on Improving Set Pieces
Thursday, 4th Aug 2022 16:55
Conor Chaplin has reflected on his part in the goal that saved a point in last week’s opening-day home draw with Bolton and insisted Town will continue to reap rewards from their improvement in set-piece routines.
Chaplin provided the assist for fellow midfielder Lee Evans’s equaliser against the Trotters as the pair teamed up from a clever corner that caught the visitors on the hop and he believes further such successes will occur as the new season gathers pace.
“We worked on attacking set plays in training and it was definitely very pleasing that it worked out so well on that particular occasion,” he said.
“There was a big focus in pre-season about improving our record from set pieces, at both ends of the pitch.
“The most pleasing thing for me wasn’t just that we scored a goal from one of our set pieces, it was that we looked dangerous from all our set pieces on the day.
“I really felt we looked a threat from every single one of them, which was a big difference from last year and something we need to make sure we keep doing.”
Asked for his overall verdict on the game, Chaplin replied: “It was okay. We certainly weren’t at our best for the first 30 minutes or so. I don’t think we stamped our identity on the game as we potentially could have done.
“But I don’t think we’re naïve enough to think it would have been too dissimilar in that period in terms of set pieces and the ball being out of play a lot. It always seems to be like that in the first game of a new season with a lot of expectation and tension around.
“Once we eventually got control of the game and equalised, I thought we were brilliant, and with the chances we had in the second half we should have won it.
“We definitely did enough to win it and if you look at the stats it is clear that we controlled the game. But while we’re happy with that aspect, we also know we must be more ruthless in future and make sure we win games that we dominate to that extent.”
Five players – Leif Davis, Freddie Ladapo and Marcus Harness in the starting line-up, subs Tyreece John-Jules and Greg Leigh from the bench – made their Town debuts against Bolton and Chaplin is sure they can all go on to make key contributions in a season where promotion back to the Championship is the club’s top priority.
He added: “The new guys are settling in very well and I think it’s a good group to settle into. I think – no, I know – that everyone is welcoming and there isn’t a single bad egg in the group. We all get on really well with each other and the new lads have fitted into that.
“They have all the usual things to sort out, like finding somewhere to live, but in terms of joining the group they have been fantastic and I see them all as great additions.
“Last year I was one of the 19 new signings and we all wanted to get out of our hotels and into our own places as quickly as possible.
“It is always going to help you, whether you are buying or renting, whether your family are with you or you are waiting until you have a place before they join you.
“I can only speak for myself but I am a lot more settled now than I was when I first came to the club, that’s for sure.”
Chaplin was also full of praise for the inspirational talk delivered last week to the entire Portman Road staff by Jason Schechterle, a former US police officer who suffered serious burns in a road accident and whose experiences he draws on in his new role as a motivational speaker.
The 49-year-old was invited to Ipswich by the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), the police and fire service pension fund that owns a majority stake in the club, and he spoke to several groups of club employees.
He told them how he was only 28 and just 14 months into his Phoenix police career when he answered an emergency call and a taxi travelling at more than 100mph – the driver suffered an epileptic fit – ploughed into the rear of his vehicle.
Schechterle’s police car burst into flames and he was trapped inside for more than 90 seconds. He survived but suffered fourth degree burns, severely altering his appearance and causing him to undergo surgery more than 50 times. His full story can be found on his Burning Shield website.
Recalling his talk three days before the Bolton game, which he also attended, Chaplin said: “It was incredible. I think everyone who attended, not just in our session but throughout the club – he spoke to three separate groups – was blown away.
“I would say it was probably the best and most inspiring hour and a half to two hours that I’ve ever spent and I think I speak on behalf of everyone that was in the room.
“More than a week later we’re still talking about it now. It was an amazing experience and we are all so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Jason and hear his story.
“There were so many lessons and values that we could take from the occasion. For me, it’s probably his outlook on life, the fact that he is not looking for any excuses and that we can only control what we can control.
“Like he says, life is 10 per cent about what happens to you and 90 per cent about how you react to it. That probably sums it up in a nutshell.
“One of the most humbling things about his visit, to be honest, was how much he appreciated being there and speaking to us. It was completely reciprocated because we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have him there.
“It was his first visit to a football match – or soccer game as he put it – and he and his friend Shane, who accompanied him, were really excited and appreciative to be there. It definitely worked both ways and it was incredible what we got from each other. For him to be telling us how grateful he was to be in attendance was absolutely amazing.”
Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images
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