'We do feel sorry for the fans' - McGreal on Barrow defeat

Grim faced John McGreal makes his way to the dressing room at Barrow after a poor first half showing

Grim faced John McGreal makes his way to the dressing room at Barrow after a poor first half showing in the FA Cup. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town interim manager John McGreal says he and the players feel sorry for the club's 'diehard fans' following tonight's 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Barrow.

A much-changed Blues side were completely outplayed by a team currently sitting 19th in League Two during the first half, Jordan Stevens and Robbie Gotts both scoring.

The second half response was too little, too late with many of the 200 away fans left with a miserable 320-mile late night trip back to Suffolk. 

"It hurts," said McGreal. "It's another game which just highlights our inconsistencies. "It was a really, really poor first half. I guess you can then argue that it's easy to get on the ball in the second half when you're 2-0 down and they drop off a little bit, but at least they've had a little bit of a go in the second half.

"We had to adapt and change the shape just to get amongst them. I think it worked a lot better. 

"I picked guys that needed a game and they obviously haven't performed. 

Town players after conceding the first goal at Barrow.

Town players after conceding the first goal at Barrow. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

"We're so inconsistent. We go from Charlton (limp 2-0 loss), to Wigan (spirited 1-1 draw), to that tonight. Even within the 90 minutes you see our inconsistencies.

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"The only way to get that consistency is to continue to work hard and go again.

"I wouldn't be surprised if, come Saturday (against Sunderland at a near sold-out Portman Road), our guys put on another excellent performance like they did against Wigan just with the way they are at the moment."

Asked about the Blues' away support, McGreal said: "I always give the fans a mention because they are die hards, absolute diehards. They've come all this way, will travel all the way back again and then go to work in the morning - and we've not given them a performance.

"We had a little bit of a go second half, but that should be a given. We do feel sorry for them.

"Come Saturday there's going to be close to 30 thousand at Portman Road. We're not getting consistent results but the fans are still there backing the lads up. The players have got to give them something."

Town fans at Barrow.

Town fans at Barrow. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Asked if he'd had words at half-time, McGreal said: "Yeah. I'm only caretaker, but I'm a proud man. I couldn't sit there and watch that. Things had to be said and things had to be changed. I'm not scared of changing teams and taking off big names. We needed energy, we needed to get legs in the team and we needed to get the ball in and around their back three. We did that second half."

It remains to be seen if McGreal gets a fourth game at the helm or whether a new manager is appointed before the weekend.

"I've enormously enjoyed it," said the Liverpudlian. "I'm proud as punch to represent the club. I haven't got the results, but that wasn't the remit. The remit was to get the guys in a better place. Tonight is obviously a little bit of a killer, but I take the positives out of that second half performance. I really do. There's something there to build on. With the inconsistencies of this season you have to grab whatever positives you can.

"There's work to be done, no doubt about that. I know the new guy will come in with their own ideas. The January window is just around the corner as well, which I think will make a big difference. I know the fans will get right behind the new guy."

Ipswich warm-up at Barrow.

Ipswich warm-up at Barrow. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd