|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Coventry City
Saturday, 2nd December 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Robins: They're a Good Side and Up There For a Reason
Saturday, 2nd Dec 2023 21:33
Coventry City manager Mark Robins felt echoes of his team last season, when they reached the Championship play-off final before losing on penalties to Luton, as Town beat his team 2-1 at Portman Road this afternoon.
George Hirst and Wes Burns netted first-half goals for the Blues, while the visitors pulled one back deep in injury time via a Brandon Williams own goal, Matt Godden having smashed a penalty against the crossbar earlier in the second period.
“They are a good side and up there for a reason,” Robins said. “They play good football and have been together for 18 months and you could tell the difference.
“We just said in the dressing room that it felt like us last season. You could see the connections have been made between the players, for instance, Conor Chaplin and Wes Burns, with George Hirst off the back.
“They have got pace and power within the team and they keep the ball pretty well and make it difficult for you. And if we’d have stayed in the game for longer rather than conceding so early it might have been different.
"But there were a couple of moments in the game where we got it wrong, the first was the goal after six minutes and the second was a worldy goal.
“You can’t put that down to anything other than a brilliant technique and a great finish, although there were things we could have done to stop it and we didn’t.
“We got to half-time and made some changes and I thought we were OK without being good enough with the ball.
“With the changes we made the players needed to be better with the ball for it to work properly and that didn’t really work for us in the first half. We grew into it more after the break when they had plenty of possession.”
Regarding the spot-kick miss, he added: “The penalty obviously came and went and he hits the underside of the bar and it’s just one of those things I’m afraid.
”Had we taken that chance it puts them on the back foot and puts them under pressure, 100 per cent.
“But for me, really, we’re still growing into a really good team and we’re just shy of that at the minute.
“Don’t forget we’re Coventry City Football Club, a big club ourselves who go after teams and we don’t step back.
“You give teams the respect they deserve but don’t back away. You have to go after them and we just looked like we were a bit timid at times.
"When I say that I don’t mean in terms of the aggression but more in terms of a firm pass or good, penetrative passes that take teams out. Our shots were a little bit wasteful as well, whereas they came onto the ball and hit it true and it put us under pressure.
“We were OK but it’s one of those games where we have to learn from it and take something from it, where we don’t back away and go with a purpose and meaning. And be ruthless.”
Regarding Town, Robins continued: “For us it was about trying to find the energy we needed to try and match their energy because obviously they’re quality, they’re well-drilled, they’re good players but the collective is strong and they work really, really hard for it.
“That’s the thing for me. Coming into this game it was about intensity and matching that intensity first off and until you feel it as a player, you don’t know. And if it takes you by surprise, then you can struggle a little bit.
“I think with Bobby Thomas and Kitch [Liam Kitching], they played against them last season a couple of times, so they knew what was coming and I think these were the only ones to beat Barnsley in 14 games or so.
“It was a good game, I thought. It was a decent game, I thought there was some good quality on show.
“The second goal for them was outstanding and we just came up short because we didn’t take those opportunities or certainly the opportunity from the penalty, which was unlucky.”
Regarding his side’s goal, he added: “I thought when Ellis [Simms] came on, I thought he tried really hard. I thought he was definitely looking to try and get on the scoresheet and was just a bit unlucky that that goal has gone down to Brandon Williams. I think he headed Brandon Williams’s head onto the ball.”
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