'I felt we deserved to win' - Cook on 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook at Portman Road

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook at Portman Road - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook felt a point was the least his side deserved following Conor Chaplin's last minute leveller in this afternoon's 1-1 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Macauley Bonne pickpocketed goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to set-up the equaliser, Wednesday having led through Dennis Adeniran's dipping first half volley. 

"If I'd have been stood here us having lost 1-0 it would have been a real bitter pill to swallow," said Cook, whose side could have won it in stoppage-time when Rekeem Harper burst into the box.

"I thought it was an excellent football match, a great occasion, a fantastic crowd (21,338), both sets of supporters played their part in a fantastic atmosphere and the game was always on a knife's edge.

"You felt that tension in the game, you felt it on the sidelines. Sheff Wed have got some excellent players, Ipswich have got some excellent players.

"For me, and I'm probably biased, I felt we probably deserved to win, though I know I might be a little bit biased with that."

Conor Chaplin celebrates after scoring the late equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday

Conor Chaplin celebrates after scoring the late equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

The Blues boss, whose team host rock-bottom Doncaster on Tuesday night, continued: "It's eight leagues games we've played now (W1 D4 L3). We've come from behind to get a point at home against a very strong team today. I think our supporters can see signs we are growing and we are getting stronger. That's there for everyone to see.

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"You've just got to keep going. We'll get beat at home when we least expect it, we'll win away when we're under pressure. It's football. For me, team performances are huge.

"We didn't give up a lot of chances in the game today. We don't look open at the minute. We look quite solid. Within that we know we've got goals in the team, so long may it continue.

"After the Bolton game (5-2 home loss), I think everyone wanted to play us. That's how I looked at us. The gaps were there and if you run through those gaps you'll score goals.

"You don't see us running back towards our own goal a lot now due to uncomfortable positional play. The lads have worked very hard on the training ground on that.

"I'm pleased with us, genuinely. I stand here sometimes and you can see the tension in my body language. I enjoyed the game today. I enjoyed watching us play. 

"Late on Matt Penney makes a couple of mistakes, but Matt was excellent today. For 80 minutes of the game he was absolutely superb. That's where fitness and repetition is important.

"I'm pleased with the point. Sheff Wed are a fantastic football club and I thought it was a great advert for League One."

The late leveller came after Bonne lurked behind unsuspecting keeper Peacock-Farrell, nicking the ball after he dropped it and coolly picking out Scott Fraser who, in turn, found substitute Chaplin to score.

"He nearly missed it Conor!" laughed Cook. "Tell him he scuffed it! I'd have never spoken to him again in my life had he missed that!

"No, look, I'm made up for Conor. He's had Covid, he's done his hamstring and he's desperate to get going. Players want to have relationships with supporters. Conor's now had a little moment with Ipswich fans."

On Bonne, who he made captain in the absence of the injured Lee Evans, Cook said: "Macauley's a constant threat. I didn't want to take him off because he's our goal threat.

"I just thought making him captain was the least Macauley deserved. He's an absolute pleasure to be around. He's a fantastic young man who is a credit to himself and this football club while he's with us."

On his decision to wait until the 75th minute to make any substitutions, the Blues boss said: "I thought we were playing well. I was enjoying us. Did we really look like scoring? Possibly that cold be questioned. I would suggest that's fair. Did we look very comfortable in the game though and that we might get a big chance? That's how I felt.

"As a manager you learn to be patient. But also, when you've got Joe Pigott, Conor Chapin, them type of lads on the bench, you're always itching to get them on because you know their energy levels will be high.

"Scott (Fraser) was one I was thinking about taking off, but you're loathed to take good players like him off. Those are just decisions you have to make as a manager. I'm sure tonight it looks a good one (Fraser set up the goal). Next week it might not look quite so good."

On his decision to start Idris El Mizouni, Cook explained: "I felt Idris deserved that chance. He's waited so patiently and long. If he didn't get the chance today, the reality is, with Samy Morsy now available, he might not have got one. Now he's had a big one and showed everyone to the club that he can play for Ipswich.

"I've got to say, I thought he was excellent. I'm so pleased for him. He had a Trophy game playing out of position to accommodate other players. He's worked so hard behind the scenes. He got an opportunity today and I felt he took his opportunity really, really well. So well done Idris."

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