‘A kick in the teeth that was tough to take’ – Klug reflects on dramatic late defeat at Forest
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Ipswich Town caretaker boss Bryan Klug admitted conceding two late goals in this afternoon’s 2-1 loss at Nottingham Forest was tough to take following an encouraging away day display.
The Blues led through Grant Ward’s 37th minute header and had several chances to go further in front after the break before Ben Brereton netted an 89th minute penalty equaliser and Joe Lolley smashed home a dramatic winner deep into stoppage-time.
“I thought it was a good away performance,” said Klug, who has had just one training session with the players since Mick McCarthy quit following Tuesday night’s 1-0 home win against Barnsley.
“I thought we had a nice mixture of resilience and, I forget what the word was Mick used to call it (belligerence). I thought we did that and when we could I thought we tried to play, not always with as much success as we’d like.
“We had a fair bit of the ball first half. I don’t think we created too much, but we got the goal. Second half we did have a few chances but didn’t get that crucial second goal and ultimately we paid for that. We got a little bit deep, but until the penalty I wasn’t ultra concerned. But there you are – that’s the reality of football isn’t it?
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“All I could say in the dressing room was ‘I don’t think you deserved that’. I thanked them all for their efforts. Since Tuesday, when Mick left, they have been, in every way, first class with us and what we’ve tried to say to them – which is exactly what I expected by the way.
“They didn’t deserve that kick in the teeth we had just there.”
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This was the third away game in succession that Town have conceded a spot-kick. The decisions at Birmingham and Brentford were controversial, but there were few complaints this time as Ward bundled over Brerton.
“I haven’t looked at it again, but I think Wardy got the wrong side and when you make a challenge in these circumstances you always give the referee an opportunity,” said Klug. “He (the referee) seemed to be in a good position to give it, so you have to take that. Then, with five seconds to go, to concede again, that is unbelievable. All we can do is pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game.”
With Wrad operating at right wing-back, Klug explained: “He got the goal and did some really good things going forwards. It was a risk and reward situation picking him in that position, but we’re running out of players really and I thought he acquitted himself really well. I’m not going to criticise him.
“I used to play him at right-back when I was at Tottenham. He hated it, but I was trying it improve his defending!”
Asked if he saw some encouraging signs from his team’s performance, in terms of the way he wants them to play, he replied: “You got exactly what you were expecting from the team – they are not going to change (style overnight) because that’s how we’ve been playing for a long time and it’s a great quality to have to be competitive and to try and stay in games.
“I thought when we did have the opportunity to play we did up to a point. But playing in the Championship is really hard and they’ve got some good players at Nottingham Forest.
“We created some good chances and I thought some of that came from good football.”
With midfielders wanting the ball off the defence and clear evidence of attempts to pass and move, Klug said: “You have to be brave to do those kind of things. It’s easy for us to call for it up in the stands and in the dug-out, but they have to be brave to do that. I saw some bravery to want to get on the ball. They didn’t always do the right things with it, but I thought the mentality was there to try and play. And we’ll try to develop that, obviously.”
Assistant coaches Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg prowled the technical area throughout, with Klug saying: “I can’t speak highly enough of those two. They have embraced the challenge and I thought the game plan which we came up with together was good. They are both really enjoying the experience. I made sure Gerard was wound up to do what he was doing! He was trying to pass on a bit of advice and I think he managed to do that.
“I feel really sorry for them as two young coaches, and the players, that we didn’t get what I thought we deserved today.”
Having made it clear that youth development is his forte and that first-team management is very much a temporary gig, Klug said he enjoyed today’s experience to a point.
“I was quite happy for 86 minutes or whatever it was, but obviously now I’m not happy,” he said. “Football is about winning games. We did everything we could to win the game, so it’s not enjoyable when you don’t manage that. I’m fully aware that we have a lot of people travel and pay good money to watch us. I hope people have gone away saying it was a decent effort.”
Having handed teenage striker Ben Morris is full debut, Klug explained: “I threw him in, it could easily have been Ben Folami, but I wanted to give Ben some minutes. I thought he would be a threat with his pace and would stretch the pitch a little bit. He obviously worked very hard. He didn’t get any real opportunities, but he did some really good things. Hopefully he will be better for it. That’s what it’s about.”
Revealing that Bersant Celina was absent with a throat virus, he explained his decision to put Barry Cotter on the bench after the youngster’s impressive debut in midweek.
“Barry’s legs are still wobbling now!” said Klug. “He didn’t have a proper pre-season and we could do without any more injuries. I was very close to not even putting him on the bench, but he’ll be flying for next week.
“Tristan (Nydam) came off with a little bit of cramp. I thought that was as good as I’ve seen him play for the first team. I thought he played with a little bit more freedom and affected the game. It was a good performance from him.
“I thought it was a good performance from Myles (Kenlock) too. I was very keen to play him consecutive games and I thought he acquitted himself really well. I thought there were some good performances throughout the team. Cameron (Carter-Vickers), Jonas (Knudsen), Jordan (Spence) – none of them could have given anymore. It’s tough to take.”