'That was the best and worst of us' - McKenna on 2-2 draw with Wigan

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna looks on during the game.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna looks on during the game. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says tonight's 2-2 home draw against champions elect Wigan Athletic showed the best and worst of his side.

After Town had dominated the first period, ex Blues striker Will Keane headed in at a corner right on half-time. Ipswich got back on the front foot after the restart and turned the game on its head through Conor Chaplin's fine finish and a brilliantly worked Sam Morsy goal.

Keane, who had cupped his ears to the North Stand after scoring the opener, had the last word though, netting an 86th equaliser. 

"I'm happy with the performance in general," said McKenna, whose side sit 11th in the table with two games to go.

"It was a good game and there are so many lessons in there for us as a team. There are things we are making steps with and things we need to improve on for next year.

"Tonight summarised the best and the worst of us. It was an outstanding first half performance, we had intensity, speed of play, got in good positions, limited them to absolutely nothing, dealt with time-wasting from the first minute and imposed ourselves so, so well in the game... and then we get caught up in a silly couple of minutes, silly rows and concede from a silly set play on the stoke of half-time.

Sam Morsy scores to put Town 2-1 ahead.

Sam Morsy scores to put Town 2-1 ahead. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

"That's a harsh, harsh lesson about the league and the requirements. It's better to consolidate and cement that in everyone's minds now rather than it happening in three or six months' time. It's a clear thing for us to reflect on with the players

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"The biggest positive is the way we chased it down in the second half. We were able to go out, apply the same pressure and go and get two goals in 25 minutes or so. That will give the group a lot of confidence and is something we can build on.

"Then obviously there's the disappointment of not being able to see the game out or kill it off with another goal, which I think we should be able to do.

"There were so many ups and downs in the game and so much to take from it. There's lots to be pleased about for the players to be proud of. But there's also things we can improve on."

With another big Portman Road crowd (21,329) getting right behind the team, McKenna said: "We looked like a team that was really fighting for something.The players knew that the way they've been supported all year they couldn't give anything less than 100%. The players gave that and I think the supporters responded to that. There were moments were they really got behind some of our passages of play and the intensity of our pressing. 

"We've got two games left now and everyone knows at this club that we're building towards something."

He continued: "We've played everyone in the top six or seven and certainly gone toe-to-toe in terms of intent and performance in the large majority of those games. The second half on Saturday (1-0 defeat at Rotherham) was probably the only exception to that.

"We know that we can go and perform very, very well against anyone in this league. But we need to be better at converting that into goals and we need to be resilient mentally, tactically and physically to the things that the opposition will try and impose on us.

"I think we've hit in and around these levels in quite a few of our games. It should give us optimism. But we also need to be realistic about the reasons why the club is where it is in the table and the things that haven't gone well this season. We need to make sure we do better in those areas, both off the pitch and on the pitch, in the summer."

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna speaking to the press after the game.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna speaking to the press after the game. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com