'We're a soft touch' - Cook on defeat to West Ham U21s
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook admitted his side are ‘a soft touch’ following tonight's 2-1 home loss to West Ham Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy.
The Blues’ winless start to the campaign extended to eight matches across all competitions (D3 L5 F11 A19) after James Norwood’s early opener was overturned.
“We made 10 changes," said Cook. "We picked a team that we felt, no different to the Newport (Carabao Cup) game at home, was strong enough to win.
“Is it bad luck at the minute? I’m not so sure it is bad luck. Is there a softness about us that none of us in the stadium like? A hundred per cent, that’s true.
“It’s something that we’ve got to eradicate.
“Newport got one goal. Every other team that has come here has got two. Bolton got five. The reality is we’re a soft touch. We’re a soft touch that just gives goals away.
“We take the lead, we look okay and then self harm. That’s something that’s got to stop and it’s got to stop quickly.”
He continued: “We haven’t created any winning mentality or culture at the club as we speak. We need to do that quickly.
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“The team we had tonight probably epitomises where we are as a club. That team should be winning that football match. And unfortunately it hasn’t.
“Pressure builds naturally in football. I’ve been around football long enough to know that.
“I’ve just said to the lads in the dressing room ‘how long does the newness of us last?’ It does last. Whether you like it or not, it does last. It certainly can’t last that much longer though, that’s for sure. It doesn’t last forever.”
Asked if he had expected more from his new-look squad by this stage of the campaign, Cook replied: “Without a shadow of a doubt. I’m as disappointed as the supporters. I don’t enjoy watching us play.
“The debate is ‘if you’re making changes (to the team), where will you get that consistency from?’ I get that. I had a supporter shout at me ‘stop changing the team!’ But at the minute we’re probably searching for our best team.
“(George) Edmundson has been out for 4/5 weeks. Would three games in a week be good for him? Would he break down? It’s the same with others.
“We’re trying our best to get minutes into players and get up to speed.
“If you get beat 5-2, what is our best team? We were giving lads an opportunity tonight to say ‘I should be playing’. How many of that 11 tonight have staked that claim? I’m not so sure too many.
“Bersant Celina is now available for Saturday. The reality is, we are an evolving team. But none of us like the way we are evolving, that’s for sure.”
With a trip to Lincoln City up next, Cook added: "We’ve got to be better as a group of players. Talk of newness is wearing thin. The reality is our supporters have left the stadium for the sixth time this season really, really disappointed. As a manager I hold my hands up, it’s not good enough and I’m not happy with what’s going on myself.
“Christian Walton and George Edmundson made their debuts Saturday, Hayden Coulson’s been out with Covid. We have had issues. I think defensively I think we need to give these lads a coupla three more games to get up and running.
“But we’re all aware me must get up and running. We’re not stupid people.”
With goalkeeper Tomas Holy giving away the 90th minute penalty which condemned Town to this latest defeat, Cook said: “It’s football. I’ll never come out and blame keepers. Every goalie that’s played this year has conceded goals at Portman Road for us. It’s not just Tomas Holy conceding goals. Christian Walton has and so has Vas (Hladky). Around that we’ve all got to tidy up, every single one of us.”