'One of my toughest days in management' - Cook on 5-2 loss to Bolton
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town's poor start to the season continued with a 5-2 home drubbing at the hands of Bolton Wanderers this afternoon. Here's what manager Paul Cook had to say in his post-match press conference.
Q: After a dream start, that ended in a nightmare. How would you sum that up?
A: I think you’ve just summed it up perfectly. It’s probably one of the toughest days I’ve had in management. It was a really difficult day.
To watch your team, again, take the lead, start brightly, look good, get the crowd on our side, even equalise, then all of a sudden we just give goals away. That’s something we have to eradicate.
There’ll be no criticisms towards the players from me. None. I put the team on the pitch.
This is a very proud club and that was a not very proud performance.
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We can hide behind three lads making their debuts, or whatever, but there are two ways you play football... One, with the ball, and one without.
We are quite okay with the ball, we still score goals and we’ve missed a couple of chances. But without the ball we are a million miles away from where we need to be as a team. That’s something we have to eradicate and eradicate quickly.
Q: How are you going to eradicate it?
A: By not talking to you much. By not trying to talk nonsense to our supporters who watched the same game as me. By a desire and willingness to work. By having a hunger and an aggression in our play – something that we sadly lack at the minute. It’s something that we must find.
Q: As Ipswich manager you’ve had four wins from 23 games. And you’ve had big success before that. What do you put that down to?
A: Which one, the four wins or the big success?
Q: Well, the big success... both really.
A: Having good players. We’ve got good players now.
I don’t think it’s fair to throw the record from last season in with this season, if I'm truthful, because you’re talking about two different squads.
I accept criticism. I am not a lad wo will ever hide behind anything other than the games that you see.
But I think it’s a bit unfair to throw last year’s results in there when we’ve changed 19/20 players.
I think we’ve recruited very well, we are strong. Everyone looks at us as favourites. But we’re not playing like a team that will be promoted, we’re not playing like a team.
At the minute we show individual qualities but not collective ones.
So we’ll go away and work very hard to be better.
Q: Do you think the fact you are the big club in this league is putting pressure on the players?
A: I respect your job, but how many negative questions do you want to ask me?
There are massive clubs in this league. Bolton Wanderers are a massive football club! Sunderland! Portsmouth! How many do you want?
We’ll concentrate on ourselves. The most important thing is Ipswich Town Football Club. Today, we’ve let our fans down.
You can’t manage and play for a club like this, have performances like that, and speak about acceptance. It’s not acceptable.
But there are only so many negative adjectives you can use. It’s now about how we go away and respond. That’s the biggest test of anybody’s character.
Q: Do you think it’s in the coaching?
A: Come on mate!
Q: It’s a fair question.
A: I've answered your questions and I respect you’re doing your job, but you’re just asking negative one after negative one.
Q: Kane Vincent-Young was taken off in the first half. He looked to be having a torrid time. How is he feeling?
A: It’s not so much a torrid time, it’s the fact he’s been booked, just given a penalty away and then probably any other tackle in the game against a very good player (Dapo Afolayan) would probably result in him being sent off. That was a chance we couldn’t take.
Q: In terms of the positives...
A: I don’t really see positives when you’ve had a heavy defeat at home. It’s really hurting to everyone, none more so than our supporters. We are a very proud club.
I’m the leader of the group and that was not good enough.
So I will shoulder that, 100%. I've never criticised players in public and I won’t now. I think what goes on behind closed doors should stay there. We know we have to be better.
Q: Two debuts today (Christian Walton and George Edmundson)...
A: Yeah. And Chaplin only playing for the second time too. And we’re playing against a very good Bolton side. As many negatives as we speak about Ipswich today, I think we should pay Bolton a big compliment. They were excellent. They carried a real threat going forwards and it was a threat we couldn’t manage.
Q: How disappointing was that this afternoon?
A: I try my best not to hide for our supporters. Some of the stuff you see you like and think ‘we’re doing okay’ and then some of the stuff you see when haven’t got the ball is really worrying. It has to change.
The only way it changes is through video analysis, recreating scenarios and going back out there.
It’s another game where we take the lead and give a goal away very quickly after it.
I struggle with that. It’s something we’ve spoken about and something we’ll keep working on.
Q: What’s that down to? Concentration?
A: I like to think I’m an experienced manager now. I’ve been around football a bit. I refuse to criticise the players – it's on me.
It’s a massive football, it’s an honour to manage this club. To get to where you want to be you’ve got to feel pain. We certainly felt pain today.
Q: Does it worry you the start you’ve made to the season?
A: No, no. I’ve got to tell you no. It genuinely doesn’t. I’d love to be able to say it does.
I know the personnel in the building. I know the players we’ve got to come in. I know the characteristics of the Samy Morsy-type, for example. Everything that we lacked today will be there times 10 from him. There will be no performances like that when he’s in the team.
But the reality is we haven’t got him. What we’ve got to offer our fans now is more. We can’t guarantee any of players turn up.
We’ve brought Edmundson in alongside Burgess and it looked like they’d never played together.
I shoulder all that. It’s what I’ve been brought in to do. It’s what I’ve done at other clubs.
This is probably the lowest point of my career. It’s up there with the best of them. I’ll take that like a man.
Q: Even without Sam Morsy and Bersant Celina, you still must have expected more this afternoon?
A: We can’t keep scoring two goals and losing games. That’s not football. It’s just not football.
Within our openness and wanting to please fans the games have been good here. And like I say, you must credit the opposition. Bolton were excellent. They really were.
We’ll lick our wounds and come back – that’s 100% for sure.
Q: Do you understand the reaction from the fans at the end?
A: A hundred per cent I get it. I’m a fan. If I’m a fan looking at it, I’m looking at a brand new team, lads where relationships are struggling to form.
I thought Sone Aluko was excellent by the way. I’ve got to say that.
I’m looking for positives. Not for our supporters, but for me. You don’t lose 5-2 at home and have positives. That team today, if I watched it myself (as a fan), I’d want to criticise.
My job is to solve the problems.
Q: First half stoppage-time was a big moment in the game, wasn’t it? A chance for Macauley Bonne and then you’re 3-2 down seconds later.
A: That’s football isn’t it? The football Gods at the minute, whether you like it or not, are not with us. In my world you influence that. My world is you don’t make excuses, you influence it.
We’re giving bad goals away. Throughout my managerial career I've always prided myself on the work rate of my team and our fitness levels.
I do enjoy us with the ball, I think we’ve got a lot of creative players, but defensively... not really.
By the way, defensively I’m not just talking about goalkeepers and centre-halves. I'm talking about as a team. You defend from the front.
Q: Scott Fraser wasn’t part of the 18...
A: He’s injured. He got a knock on Wednesday. Scott’s been doing great and that brought a bit of unbalance to us, but there’s no excuses today.
Q: Nothing long-term with him?
A: No, he’ll be back this week I imagine. It’s just a little knock.