'Our supporters are tired and bored of us' - Cook on 3-0 loss at AFC Wimbledon
- Credit: Pagepix
Exasperated Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook expressed sincere sympathy for the club's long-suffering fans following tonight's 3-0 defeat at relegation-battling AFC Wimbledon.
Will Nightingale and Jack Rudoni both headed home before Josh Harrop was shown a straight red card during a disastrous seven minute spell midway through the first half.
The 10-man Blues worked hard but lacked quality throughout, with Ryan Longman adding a third goal late on.
Town slip to ninth in the League One table, with the gap to the play-off places growing to five points. There are now just six matches to go.
Asked how painful tonight's viewing had been for him, Cook replied: "I can't even tell you lads. I can't... I just can't.
"I've watched football for years and years, I've been around football, and I always put myself in the supporters' position. Our supporters are tired now and bored of us aren't they? Let's have it right. That's what they are.
"I'm lucky enough and privileged enough now to probably have a chance, hopefully, to try and change a lot of what's got on.
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"That's what's going to have to happen now.
"There's no throwing players under the bus. There's no excuses offered.
"We're a million miles from being a good team and that includes myself and the staff tonight.
"You win together, you lose together. We travel away together. We have each other.
"I have been managing a long time now. The best feeling as a manager is when you put a team on the pitch that you trust.... I don't trust our team. I've got to be open and say that.
"That doesn't mean everyone's a bad player. That doesn't mean everyone's doing something wrong. But we're miles off it. We're just miles off it.
"I keep going back to our supporters. They're tired and bored of it now.
"We have to be better. Because if we're not then the changes will just be repetitive. I'm not sure that keep changing gets you where you want to be. Somewhere along the line the anchor has got to go in and the badness has to stop.
"We have to start taking steps forwards. We've taken a massive step back tonight as a club and that's so disappointing for me, for you guys who travel and everyone else.
Ipswich have claimed 10 points from Cook's first 10 games in charge (W2 D4 L4). Asked if he was looking at himself, the Liverpudlian said: "Come on. As a manager of a football club coming in... Two wins out of 10. It is what it is. I'm big enough. I've been around the game well long enough to be able to shoulder criticism. Are you with me?
"When you're a manager and you stand on the touchline you are as good as your team. So tonight, if you're suggesting two out of 10 means I'm not a very good manager, then I haven't got a very good team."
Cook was then asked about the mad seven minute spell which cost his side.
"You're now going to go into more negative questions about more negativity," he said. "I've told you. We weren't very good, it's not good enough and it has to change. I don't think I need to answer much more."
Does he think fans have lost heart?
"Lost heart?!" he said. "I'm surprised they've still got any! We are what we are. We flatter to deceive. The questions you ask me will continue to be negative. I can't change the answers. I can't.
"We're not good enough and we know that. On the pitch we're supposed to do the right things, create chances, score goals, defend well... we don't do any of it."
When it was put to him that his side had a decent spell in the second half, Cook pulled a face and replied sarcastically: "Well done us.... Well done us."
Is it his job to lift the players before Saturday's game at Charlton?
"I don't think I have to," he said. "They have to lift themselves now don't they? We're in that position.
"In sport, in general, if you don't feel pain you will never do nothing about it. We need to feel pain. You need to travel home tonight and if it doesn't affect you by tomorrow and the next day there's something wrong with you. I'm not so sure it affects our players a great deal.
"So the reality for us going forwards is that things must change."
It was then put to Cook that all these players have been given enough of a chance to change peoples' opinions of them.
"You've asked me enough," he said. "I'm not going to be drawn into giving the players criticisms. Like I said to them after the game 'you've been kicked from pillar to post at times'. And they're probably tired now of being kicked from pillar to post.
"The reality for us is we've had a big week last week, there's a lot of change going on at the football club and the supporters are the ones I only feel for. They are the ones who have supported us for a period of time where they've been unhappy.
"Eventually the sun's got to start shining on the club. It's not shining tonight in any shape or form."
Asked what he'd said to new chairman Michael O'Leary after the game, Cook said: "I think Michael is a very experienced gentleman isn't he? Are you with me? I'm sure what Michael sees. And the people who are coming in, who I'm sure have been watching a lot of Ipswich games, will be well versed for what is coming.
"What can we do about tonight? What can I say to make it better? Absolutely nothing. So let's take the pain."
Finally, asked if talk of a play-off push can stop, Cook said: "You can always keep talking about them because while there's life there's hope. But unfortunately it's a really tough night for us tonight. Let's lick our wounds, let's get on the bus back to Ipswich, let's keep our heads down and let the pains settle in. As a club we're hurting tonight."