McKenna's verdict on Town's 2-0 win at Fleetwood

Kieran McKenna before the game at Fleetwood Town.

Kieran McKenna before the game at Fleetwood Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna was pleased to see his team's patience pay off in this afternoon's 2-0 win at Fleetwood Town.

Just like in the previous games against Cheltenham and Morecambe, it was beginning to look like the Blues' initial dominance was going to drift towards another frustrating draw.

But then Wes Burns picked out Sam Morsy with a measured low cross for a 72nd minute opener before Kayden Jackson finished off a well-weighted Bersant Celina through ball to clinch a vital victory in the 81st minute. 

"It's a good win," said McKenna, the Blues moving back to within five points of the League One play-off places.

"It was a difficult game. Obviously a very difficult pitch made it a very big challenge. It was a big challenge to have two of our furthest away games of the season back-to-back. And we had to overcome the disappointment of last week (a 1-1 draw at Morecambe) where we didn't get what we deserved.

"We laid out the challenge to the players at the start of the week to put in a good week of training and not feel sorry for ourselves, improve on some aspects and go again.

"It's pleasing for the fans who were able to come here that we were able to put in a good performance, control the game, play our football in very difficult circumstances and this week we got the reward with two goals."

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The Northern Irishman continued: "I think we just really needed the first goal. As soon as the first goal went in you could see the players threw their shoulders back. I think if the game had gone on longer then we were capable of going and scoring more goals.

"We just haven't had that first goal the last couple of games.

"I thought we played better against Cheltenham. I thought we played better last week against Morecambe than we did for spells of the game today.

"I thought first half we were quite good, we controlled it quite well, but I don't think we were as brave and dominant as we want to be, understandably with the conditions.

"It was about believing in what we do. Sometimes you don't get the rewards. Last week was a better performance than today, we had more chances than today but we didn't get the rewards.

"But if you do the right things over a course of time then usually it balances out that you get the goals that you deserve.

"Obviously when we got that first goal today it was a big moment for the team. It just relaxed everyone a bit and the second goal wasn't far behind."

McKenna added: "It's hard when you come here. It's hard to keep the ball in play. You have to work very, very hard to take the sting out of the opposition. I don't know what the ball in play time was in the first half and start of the second hal, but it must have been very low. I didn't feel like the ball was on the pitch very much.

"That was a challenge to keep the ball in play and get the game to flow. In those instances it's important that we take our restarts as quick as we can, get the ball back in play, don't let the other team breath and get back into shape.

"We did that for the opener. The build up to the free-kick was good. We got Santy in a position we wanted to. And then the quick thinking to take it quickly was good from Conor (Chaplin).

"Look, it's no secret we've been working on our final third play. I thought we created a lot of chances last week, but having reviewed it there were estill things we could do better in terms of our execution of final pass and especially crosses, as well as different types of movement and getting that extra body in the box.

"Obviously the first goal is a really good example of us playing our way through a difficult pitch and finding an area that we want to be really productive from and this time we made a really good decision. It was really good execution from Wes and really good movement, from the right space, from Sam. That's something he's been working really hard on and it's good to see it come off."

On the poor state of the Highbury pitch, McKenna added: "Convention could say you can't play football on these pitches, but I think over the last two games we've shown you can. Of course you have to mix your game up - we have to have a threat in behind and a counter threat - but it's important that wherever we go we go and play with an Ipswich identity and we look to dominate the game and take the ball. I think if you come to these places and the game becomes tit-for-tat and longs balls and set plays then it's not going to suit the type of players that we have in the team at the moment.

"For us it's important to try and keep the ball in play as much as we can, to try and stop the constant flow of set-plays and long balls into our box, to keep control of the ball and keep it as far away from our goal as possible and keep trusting if we continue to do the right things we'll be able to score goals.

"Obviously that paid off for us today, but we have to keep improving as a team because there are a lot of challenges in this league and obviously the surfaces in winter time are one of those challenges."