'We need that character in the situation we find ourselves in' - Hurst hails his players' gutsy Brentford display
PUBLISHED: 23:12 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 00:52 19 September 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst hailed the character of his players following their gutsy comeback draw against Brentford at Portman Road tonight.
The edgy-looking Blues were played off the park by the high-flying Bees in a one-sided first half and fortunate to have only conceded Neal Maupay’s header.
A switch in formation at the break helped turn the tide though and Kayden Jackson produced an expert 73rd minute headed equaliser.
The Blues remain winless and bottom of the Championship table, but are still unbeaten at home heading ahead of Saturday’s visit of Bolton.
“I think it has to,” Hurst replied when asked if the result had given he and his players a lift. “That’s not trying to look for positives that aren’t there but to be 1-0 down against that team on the back of a disappointing performance at Hull, it could have been a really, really difficult night.
“But the message at half time to the players, apart from changing formation, was to show character and to hang on in the game as much as possible because I believed we would get a chance.
“We had a chance, hit the bar and didn’t put it away and you think we might not get anything from the game again. They hit the bar with a free-kick and you think ‘maybe we have a chance’ again.
“We scored a very good goal and after that it was a difficult watch all round in some respects because of how well they look after the ball and the threat they carry.
“But we managed to carry a threat as well and probably had the best chance to win the game with a slipped pass through to Kayden, who will be disappointed he didn’t at least work the keeper. At the same time he will be pleased to get off the mark in the league and to have scored a good goal.
“One thing I’ve managed to create in jobs is a spirit, a togetherness and on very few occasions has a team I’ve managed gone under,” Hurst continued.
“That’s the minimum I ask of them and I want to see that character, we need that character in the situation we find ourselves in.
“There’s arguably no bigger test than tonight, being 1-0 down against a team on top of their game and playing very well. It’s the first time one of the lads might have experienced a few murmurs if they’ve made wrong decisions, but overall the crowd were good and stayed with it to create a really good atmosphere. “
“We’ve seen that at the end when they’ve stayed to clap the team off.”
Hurst made five changes to his side for the Bees’ visit, switching to a three-man central defence with wing backs and two central strikers, but the Ipswich manager admitted his side could simply not continue in the system as he switched to a more familiar 4-2-3-1.
“It can be deemed as brave, it can be deemed as stupid and the wrong decision but if you don’t try you will never know,” Hurst said.
“We wanted to try and have two strikers on the pitch, play a little more direct and, having watched them, they commit men forward and it’s on to maybe break on them.
“But we never had the quality or looked after the ball. We knew they would have the ball and we would need to be patient but we didn’t use it well enough. We chased, got it and gave it straight back. It wasn’t working.
“It would have been suicidal to not have three men in the middle of the pitch so we had the option of a diamond, which we were not convinced about, or the way we went.
“I think we have the players to do that (how we started the game) but we came up against too good a side who gave us too many problems to be able to continue.
Jon Walters missed this evening’s game after feeling his Achilles at Hull, with Hurst admitting the veteran loanee is a doubt for the visit of Bolton at the weekend.