'The bigger picture is the result' - Cook on Crewe win

Town manager Paul Cook unhappy with the linesman.

Paul Cook's record as Ipswich Town manager was W13 D17 L14. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com


Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook admitted today's 2-1 home win against Crewe was unconvincing, but insists the result was all that mattered.

Sone Aluko's fine footwork forced Luke Offord into a third minute own goal and then Bersant Celina scored with an outrageous lob in first half stoppage-time.

The rock-bottom visitors were always in this game though and Chris Long's 73rd minute goal finish set up a very nervy finish. 

"Listen, we're just delighted to win," said Cook, whose side have moved up to 11th in the League One table and within seven points of the play-off places.

"It is what it is. I think you guys now know us - that's what we are. We offer signs where we're going to go and do really well, then we offer signs where you knew the third goal in the game was going to be absolutely huge. Because we've been there before.

"I get all the tension in the stadium. I know exactly how our supporters felt because we felt like that on the bench. I was the same as them - antagonised, moaning, praying... everything. 

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"Today was always going to be a bit of a nervy game though. We're playing the team that's bottom of the league and everyone just expects you to win. Crewe are no duck eggs though. 

"The bigger picture is the result. It was important to bounce back with a win. Come the end of the season no-one will remember how we won, just as they won't remember how we lost at Sunderland last week."

On Celina's goal, the best to have graced Portman Road in many years, Cook enthused: "What a goal! It was a goal worthy of winning any game and lighting up any stadium. 

"That's one that people will be talking for a long time. I think that's what everyone should leave the stadium talking about.

"I've been in lots of stadiums all through my life and that's one of the most special goals I've ever seen. 

"That's why we were all excited to sign him and bring him back here.

"When he got it I was thinking 'just take it to the corner' and see us in at half-time 1-0 up! But he produces that moment of magic that probably only he is capable of producing."

With Macauley Bonne and Kyle Edwards both having opportunities to kill the game off in the second half, Cook said: "When those chances come you must take them. If you don't put teams away then teams at this level will come back at you. And Crewe did that.

"Macauley's now going through that stage where probably a month ago everything he touched was turning to goals. Now all of a sudden he's trying too hard. That's football. Macauley just needs to get his shirt back on and go and score a goal. 

"Kyle Edwards came inside towards the end... He just needs that moment. That would have lifted everyone and we'd have seen two great goals. 

Asked if this performance was enough to restore some of the previous feelgood factor which had waned after defeats to Sunderland and Rotherham, Cook replied: "Was the performance good enough to make us all leave happy? No, of course it wasn't, but we've won.

"As I keep saying, we're 20 games in with a brand new squad. Me, more than anyone, understands the rules of management. But somewhere along the line you have to give players time and managers time to build. 

"Today it was a very, very scrappy win. But it was a win.

"We've put a new team together and we're 20 games in now. Cultures, habits, all of that is set over a period of time. Managers now are in the world we're in.

"You've got to be careful. We're a team that is trying our best to have a style and an identity. Confidence, in any industry, sport especially, is huge."

He continued: "Our fans left the stadium not happy on Tuesday night. We all felt that. Today I thought we started terrifically well, we scored a good goal, we tried to put them under pressure and we created moments.

"I know fans will ask why one or two players weren't playing. I get it. I really do get it. But you're trying to put lads back out there and to get confidence.

"I said to the players 'if we send the supporters to sleep it's our job to wake them up'. The only way you wake them up is by creating chances and putting crosses in the box and scoring goals. 

"We looked like we wanted to do that, then we just stop! It's like why would you get tired of being good at what you're doing!? That's where we're at with these players.

"We knew the third goal in the game was always going to be a big goal. Crewe, all game, never went away. Crewe were exceptionally good today, they play with an identity and a style and you'd never know their league position.

"They put us under unbelievable pressure at the end where we were hanging on."

Town now host Arsenal U21s in the second round of the Papa John's Trophy on Wednesday night and then welcome League Two side Barrow to Portman Road for the second round of the FA Cup next Saturday.

"This is a big week for us," said Cook. "We talked about going and winning three games in a row at Portman Road and lifting our fans going into Christmas. We're over the first hurdle, now let's see if we can go and win two cup games."