Concentrate on league - Pablo

By Mike BaconTHE body language spoke a thousand words.Ipswich Town striker Pablo Counago emerged from the bright lights of the main reception area at Portman Road, into the darkness outside.

By Mike Bacon

THE body language spoke a thousand words.

Ipswich Town striker Pablo Counago emerged from the bright lights of the main reception area at Portman Road, into the darkness outside. Eager autograph hunters waited patiently, the young Spaniard not set to disappoint.

Hands in pockets and with disappointment etched all over his face, Counago knew Town had missed out on the chance to make further FA Cup progress this season after their 2-1 defeat at home to Sunderland on Saturday.


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But despite the obvious signs of frustration, positivity was key to the 24-year-old's thoughts on the game and the season ahead.

And he had this message to Town fans. "Now we must be stronger than ever and think about only the league. Of course, all the people think cups are nice, and they are right because they are an opportunity to impress.

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"But I know all the people here in Ipswich want Premiership football more.

"Who knows? Perhaps it is now better we are out of the Cup. We only have the league to concentrate on and we can do that now."

Counago's sentiments on being strong will be echoed by all. And concentrating on the league challenge and the aspirations of getting back into the Premiership are fundamentally what this season has been all about from day one.

But the FA Cup still has plenty of magic. The chance to draw a Premiership giant in this afternoon's fifth-round draw has gone, as too has the chance of some much-needed revenue.

Sunderland took their luck on Saturday, with Kelvin Davis' second-half howler proving a defining moment as the Black Cats went 2-0 ahead, adding to Tommy Smith's first-half strike.

"The second goal made it very difficult for us to come back," Counago continued.

"It was always going to be hard to score three goals in 30 minutes. Our keeper had the bad luck with the goal, but that's football.

"We had some good chances ourselves and controlled lots of the game, but we should have created more and should have got more chances.

"All defences are strong and Sunderland were no different. But whether it is me and Shefki, or other strikers, we can do it. But today it was hard."

Martijn Reuser brought Ipswich some late hope when he lashed home from eight yards with just minutes left. But it was too late, Town were out.

mike.bacon@eadt.co.uk

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