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Ipswich Town 2 v 2 West Bromwich Albion
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 10th February 2024 Kick-off 12:30
McKenna: Another Game We Feel We've Done Enough to Win
Saturday, 10th Feb 2024 16:08

Town boss Kieran McKenna felt his side would have deserved all three points from their 2-2 home draw with West Bromwich Albion, the Blues having twice come from a goal down and having come close to winning it via a late Ali Al-Hamadi shot which was well saved by Baggies keeper Alex Palmer.

The visitors went in front via Tom Fellows on 18 before Nathan Broadhead ended an eight-game goal drought within 44 seconds of the second half getting under way.

Albion sub John Swift restored the Black Country side’s lead before Omari Hutchinson scored Town’s equaliser in an injury time spell in which the Blues threw the kitchen sink at the Baggies with Palmer thwarting Al-Hamadi, the keeper saving the Blues’ sub’s powerful effort on the spin.

“I thought it was a really good game, a great atmosphere,” McKenna said. “Bar a couple of inches at the end we’d have been talking about an absolute classic in terms of games we’ve had at this stadium.

“There were lots of good things about the performance. I thought we deserved the three points, to be honest. Lots of good things about the performance on the ball, but also off the ball plenty of good things.

“Two moments that we didn’t defend well enough, which leads to frustration that we haven’t won the game, another game that we feel that we’ve done enough to win.

“But a lot of pride in the way we played, the effort given, the atmosphere the supporters created and stuck with.

“And going behind twice to West Brom, to put the pressure on that we did, to get a point, to deserve three, I think we can take a lot from that.”

As in their previous two games, the Blues managed more than 20 shots on and off target, while opposition sides have now scored seven goals from seven shots on target in Town’s last three matches in all competitions.

McKenna admitted the Blues would have been fuming had they not grabbed their second leveller.

“Yes, we would,” he said. “To be fair, it’s a little run but I think you could see that in plenty of games we’ve had the better opportunities, better chances, more of them and not given too much away.

“Of course, it’s always frustrating when you don’t get the wins, but it’s always much more concerning if you’re not creating chances and you’re giving away a lot of chances, and that’s not been the case.

“You have spells in the season, there were probably spells earlier in the season where we were extremely clinical and maybe made some big interventions at the other end as well.

“You usually hope and trust that if you’re performances are consistent and you’re creating more than you’r giving away, that you’ll pick up plenty of points.”

Town have now won only once in the league in their last nine, but their performance levels have been better than that suggests with draws with leaders Leicester home and away and a home win against Sunderland in that streak as well as today’s draw with the fifth-placed Baggies.

“In many ways, yes,” McKenna concurred. “We don’t feel like we’re far off winning games, certainly. And we’re not losing many games either, we’ve lost very few.

“Of course we want to win games, but the Championship’s a really tough division, you’re going to have points and stages where you don’t win as many, you can count back in different ways, one in nine, if you count 11 games, it’s three wins in 11.

“We’re drawing too many games that we should win but not losing many. We have to accept that and keep looking to improve, no doubt about it.

“We won’t hide from the areas that we need to do better on that will help us turn good performances into victories.

“But at the same time, we’ll keep focusing on what we do day-to-day and how we perform and trust that over the course of time and over the course of the season that you normally get close to what you deserve, and we still feel like we’re doing a lot of good things as a team.”

Town went behind for the fifth game in a row in all competitions and have conceded 16 goals in the first half an hour of matches and 12 in the first 15, both more than any other side in the division.

“It’s not something we’re ignoring, that’s for sure,” McKenna said when asked about his team’s slow beginning to matches. “I didn’t think we won enough challenges at the start of the game.

“We spoke about it before the game but despite that I didn’t think we won enough challenges. I thought we were still playing pretty well but West Brom came out on top of all the 50/50 balls and on too many occasions when there was a chance to win the ball, we didn’t win it.

“And that didn’t allow us to create the same domination as we have in the later stages.

“Now look, that’s a lot of different factors, there are two teams on the pitch, West Brom have excellent players, our players are still at full stretch to compete at this level, to be fair.

“And you’re not going to have the whole 90 minutes. We won’t hide and shy away from the fact that we need to find ways to consistently impose ourselves on the game at the start.

“But on the other hand, we have to respect the level that we’re playing at and the competition that we’re up against and also take a big positive that the players fully believe in the fact that if we stick to our plan, if we stick to how we play over the course of 90 minutes, then usually we’re still going strong at the end and the other team are really with the feeling that they’ve been in a really, really difficult game.

“And I think that was the case today, certainly by the latter stages we were coming out on top of all those things.

“That’s not just a defensive issue, it’s how we’ve worked the opposition so hard and so well with the ball that there’s a fatigue element in that.

“We’ll speak about it again before Wednesday night [when Town travel to Millwall], there are a couple of things in my mind that we will try and address.

“But at the same time, we respect the level that we’re operating in, you’re not going to have the whole 90 minutes and we’ve had more than enough of that 90 minutes today to win the game.”

McKenna was asked whether he expects the Baggies, who came close to becoming only the second side to double the Blues this season, to take points off their promotion rivals between now and the end of the campaign.

“They can take points off anyone,” he reflected. “They’re a really tough team to play against and, as I said yesterday, they’re probably the best team in the league to defend a one-goal lead, so to be in that situation twice and to come back in the way that we did, there’s a lot of positives in that.”

It was notable that a number of West Brom’s players crashed to the turf exhausted at the final whistle.

“They’re physically a really good team but the players really believe that if we can get the game at the intensity that we want it and if we can impose ourselves in the game, then we’ll still be going strong in the later stages of games and other teams will be tired, and that’s down to how we work,” McKenna continued.

“I know they’re a really fit team who work hard as well, so the energy levels that we had at the end, the impact of the substitutes again, that’s something that we can take big positives from.”

The Blues boss was asked why central defender Cameron Burgess, who came back from international duty with Australia at the Asian Cup earlier in the week, was left out of the matchday 20.

“He’s only just returned, has been training not to much and been on the bench for most of the game in a completely different climate, so not easy to come back into a game in the intensity of today,” the Northern Irishman said.

“And I think George [Edmundson] has been playing really well, to be honest, he’s been one of our best players and I thought he was one of the best players again today.

“That’s a good position to be in now with the squad and everyone’s going to have to earn and keep earning their places in the team.”

Photo: TWTD

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BarryKnightsRedcard added 16:11 - Feb 10
Not when you have a defence that leaks over 2 goals a game. West Brom could have been a goal up even before they got their first. It doesn’t take much to get through our back line at all

Pencilpete added 16:13 - Feb 10
Another game where we’ve conceded to every shot on target we’ve faced. Last 3 weeks we’ve faced 7 shots on target and conceded 7 goals. Defensively it’s absolutely not good enough, we can’t score 3 or 4 goals every week to rescue results

Karlosfandangal added 16:23 - Feb 10
Stop play this football of passing around at the back 1 win in 9 teams have worked it out.
Or play the ball faster as by the time we have passed it back to the keeper and centre half’s 10 time the opposition have got everyone behind the ball and back in formation

Play two up front as that will cause confusion then go back to just one or put 4 in midfield now and then.

But saying that would have taken pla off at the beginning of the season

TimmyH added 16:28 - Feb 10
Left a lot of it to the end unfortunately...with 10 minutes left felt maybe a draw would have been about right as they didn't do that much 2nd half other than injury time a bit unlucky not to have snatched all 3 points.

If we're still in this league next season we need some different personnel at the back.

IpswichT62OldBoy added 16:34 - Feb 10
We have kept shots on goal down to 7 over 3 games.
That is very impressive.

Pencilpete added 16:37 - Feb 10
Not if you concede them all

Help added 16:49 - Feb 10
Weak at the back. Cant score more than the opposition. Can't keep going goals behind. It seems to be a tactic to Play slow in the first half and hold the opposition to no or one goal. Then get back at them in the second half and hope to score more. Really think we have been found out by some teams. Seems like last year all over again. Hope we kick on from Wednesday and start winning all of the remaining games to stay in touch with the top 3.

Billysherlockblue added 16:55 - Feb 10
We are soft at the back. No last ditch ... give it all defending except for clarke. . Wolfy what are you doing. Use your physical presence and stop pussying around.

muhrensleftfoot added 16:58 - Feb 10
What an entertaining game. Must have been a good watch for the neutral on Sky. I thought we were superb at times, but once again undone by poor defensive mistakes . WBA are a very good side. Could well be playing them again in the playoffs. Nothing to fear though, we were the better side.

pablo123 added 17:01 - Feb 10

pablo123 added 17:05 - Feb 10
Same old same old , we've won 1 in 9 keiran !!!! Blown it again unfortunately , after being well clear b4 xmas !!!

Suffolkboy added 17:33 - Feb 10
Much of the season left,and KM continues to get it right,put things into context but remains patently aware of fault lines/ weaknesses.
Some will be systems breakdown , some excellent work by opposition and some down to individual error / positional play .
For certain we provide exciting entertainment for TV and supporters,but a return to winning ways is overdue !

Wooly74 added 17:33 - Feb 10
Get a f****** grip some of you, we are a newly promoted side competing with theee newly relegated sides, plastic fans some of you for sure

slade1 added 18:29 - Feb 10
The defence especially needs sorting out.
Woolfie in particular, the way he brings the game to a halt by just standing there with the ball under his foot. is infuriating.

Yes, we would have all taken 4th place at the start of the season but 4th at the moment feels very disappointing now.

bsw72 added 18:48 - Feb 10
People need to calm down. We do need to improve defensively but for the opposition to score 100% of shots on target in the last 3 games is unlucky. In that same period we have had 29 shots on target, yet only converted 17% due to some poor finishing but more to goalkeeping and last ditch defending. The 3 teams above as have the benefit of FFP rules in their favour and so larger more expensive squads to rely on. The loss of Hirst has had a massive impact and really disrupted the team, and it’s only now with Moore playing that role we will start to settle down. In August if someone had offered me 4th pace behind only the relegated teams I’d have laughed in their faces. Onward and upward.

Bazza8564 added 18:52 - Feb 10
Well we knew this was coming we have punched way above for so long so it's no surprise.But the crap about playing out from the back? Get serious thats how we've done so well, and now we have Kieffer i expect us to mix it up as we did today.
WBA are a decent side, we are a decent side! We now have a run of games against sides we can go at. The b*****s that some people spout is unreal. We are in a great position in a league one up from last year with a game in hand. The season ends in May, you don't slate the boys with 3 months to go unless you want them to fail.
It maybe a year or two too early but Jeez, we were 11th in league one and now we have a shot. Please cheer up some of you

Karlosfandangal added 19:19 - Feb 10
Don’t disagree with playing out from the back….However when the opposition have six player in forward positions it would be nice for a quick ball out instead of standing on the ball and it feels like Town are waiting for the opposition to get back in position.

It’s not B*****s being sprouted it’s an opinion and an observation from a fellow fan. Not saying it everyone should agree but have some respect because not everyone agrees with other fans opinions.

That what makes football Interesting

ArnieM added 19:25 - Feb 10
Tome for a change of CB's I feel. Wolfenden flatters to decieve most games for me. I know he's a favourite of many on this forum , but for me he's slow, can't header a ball cleanly or with any real direction. He rarely tackles like a CB should- hence the irst goal, and hus so called "play making" out if defence yo instigate our attacks I'd pedestrian and frankly laughable. There's a mistake in him most games andvtgerf certainly is with his CB partner Edmondson. As soon as I saw that pairing today k knew we'd be gifting goals.

It's time to give Axel a run of games alongside Burgess until the end of the season. He's had no chance to get up to speed yet and he's a class player - potentially thr best CB at this club.

During the coming summer I'm expecting ( certainly hoping) this club finally sorts out a weak, and average at cbest, central defence personal. Its been a long time coming and potentially will be the main reason we may stumble at that final hurdle this season I fear. Our defence simply isn't good enough.

pablo123 added 19:33 - Feb 10
Woolly 74 , I'm no plastic fan pal , I go to all the home games and some away at wknds , and I'm entitled to my opinion !!! So plz don't throw insults like that !! You've probably never been to a game !!!

bobble added 21:38 - Feb 10
wba have lost 5 of their last 10 games and are 11pts behind so are exactly barcelona...all this talk about how good they are is nonsense

BobbyPetta11 added 22:55 - Feb 10
Firstly KM up top was excellent. He causes so many problems for defenders and takes away attention.

Ali when he come on the swivel and shot he looks sharp.

I would like too see a boot up Chaplin & Burns. They go missing in the big 6 games. It wouldn’t harm them to be dropped and watch a win.

Changes come way too late again. Even 10 mins after we levelled we looked flat.lets mix the game up quicker & finish how we did today ?

The back line make errors yes but we could have Van Dijk CB and still
Conceed it’s the way we play! So front footed when we lose the ball it takes an age to get back into shape.

In KM I trust but how many times have we seen him adapt from the same formation? The best managers Jose M / Pep change the formation during games.

Blue_In_Boston added 00:02 - Feb 11
Wooly74, not plastic fans at all. Forget this we were League One last season, no right to be promoted, Southampton and our Norfolk rivals both got back to back promotions.

Stats being trotted out before Xmas suggested 90% + teams in our position went up automatically.

Spirit_of_78 added 01:13 - Feb 11
Come on guys! A year ago we were hoping for the championship, we got it! None of us thought in a million years we would be where we are now, but now we are and we’ve had a dip in form some of you are getting irate that we are struggling, get a grip! We’re punching above our level, thanks to an incredible young manager who could walk into many premier league teams! Be thankful for where we are! And the season we’ve had thus far, if you’ve followed us through the bloody rough times we’ve had you should understand and be grateful for this amazing season, which isn’t over by a long way COME ON YOU BLUE BOYS! And thank you Kieran and all involved in getting us to where we are now, and enjoying football again

tractorboybig added 07:50 - Feb 11
surely its another games we threw away mate????? to many now

SussexTractor added 08:11 - Feb 11
It’s the defence that is the problem folks ! Going forward we have the firepower to beat anybody but we are slow to start and have to come back once conceding. We need to invest in that defence !

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